By- Aaindrila Dey

GANESHA

Embodiment of wisdom and Bliss.

Wisdom and Bliss.

Remover of obstacles.

Bestower of Happiness.

Om Gam Ganapatayae Namaha

There is no denying the fact Maharashtra is an extraordinary state. Its cities specially Mumbai, comes alive during the 10-day long Ganesh puja celebrations.

History

The origin of Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai is traced back to Shivaji, the Maratha ruler. It was he who initiated the festival to instil nationalistic feelings and promote cultural harmony in his subjects. Since 1882, the festival got a fresh breath when Bal Gangadhar Tilak revived it as a perfect platform to spread the message of freedom struggle and thus resisted the British who had banned all public assemblies.

Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated as the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesha, the Hindu god who is believed to be powerful enough to eliminate all obstacles. his is one of the festivals which Mumbaites celebrate with great zeal and enthusiasm. Lord Ganesh is regarded as the patron saint of Maharashtra and over 6000 idols are commissioned in Mumbai every year. This alone is enough to explain the spirit of Mumbai in celebrating the festival.

The 10-day festival, which begins with welcoming Lord Ganesha into homes and ultimately, bidding him goodbye by submerging him in water will be celebrated from September 2-12 this year. While Ganesh Chaturthi will be celebrated on September 2, which is a Monday, Visarjan will be held on September 12.

On the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, we bring you 10 Ganesh pandals in Mumbai that are a must visit and how to reach there.

1. Lalbaugcha Raja

No wonder Lalbaughcha Raja tops the list when we say popular pandals in Mumbai. This year, the pandal will have a plastic crushing machine to spread awareness about the plastic ban. The pandal has donated Rs 25 lakh to the Chief Minister’s relief fund in order to help flood victims. According to reports, this year, Lalbaughcha Raja will have ‘Chandrayaan 2’ as the theme. Every year the pandal draws over 1.5 million devotees a day. The idol is believed to fulfill wishes. To get a glimpse of the favourite god there are two lines – a general line and the other ‘navas’ line. The navas line is for those devotees who wish to worship idol right near the idol’s feet, while the general line is a few meters away from the idol.

Devotees began arriving at Lalbaugcha Raja pandal here seeking blessings of Lord Ganesh as the 10-day long festivities kicked off on Monday.

The approximately 20-feet high Ganapati idol at Lalbaug has been crafted in a traditional manner and is installed in a beautiful pandal decorated on the theme of ISRO’s ambitious Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft which was launched in July. Earlier today, a special ‘Kakad-aarti’ was performed at the Siddhivinayak temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh.

Hundreds of people participated in the special ‘aarti’ held early in the morning at the famed temple.

Address: Lalbaug market, GD Ambedkar Road, Lalbaug

2. Ganesh Galli cha Raja

The Ganesh Galli Cha Raja is one of the oldest and one of the most renowned Ganpati pandals in Mumbai. Also called as the Mumbai Cha Raja, the Ganesh Galli Cha Raja was founded way back in 1928. This year the Ganesh Galli Cha Raja pandal will be celebrating its 92nd Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The pandal is few lanes away from the popular Lalbaug cha Raja. The pandal is known for its unique themes, often a replica of popular temples in India. In 2019, according to ANI, this year the pandal has decided to create an Ayodhya Nagari and build a ‘Ram Temple’. The decorations and lightings are estimated to cost Rs 35 lakh.

Ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi festival, Mumbaikars got a glimpse of the first look of Khetwadi Cha Raja and Chinchpoklicha Chintamani as the Ganesh idols were taken to their respective pandals in Mumbai. Thousands of devotees had gathered outside the workshop in Lalbaug in order to get the first look of the famous Ganpati idols of Mumbai.

How to reach: If you coming from Central Railway alight at Chinchpokli or Curry Road stations. If you prefer Western Railway alight at Lower Parel. Walking distance of 10 to 15 minutes from any mentioned railway stations. The pandal is close to Lalbaug cha Raja’s pandal.

3. Tejukaya cha Raja

Tejukaya Cha Raja is a popular Ganesh pandal in Lalbaug in Mumbai. It is believed that the pandal derives its name from ‘Tejukaya’ a popular personality from the British era who was known as ‘Rao Bahadur Seth Shri Tejukaya J.P’ and was a civil contractor by profession. The Ganesh Mandal, the organisers of Tejukaya cha Raja, also won the Mumbaicha Raja award in 2012.

Tejukaya Mansion Ganeshotsav Mandal is one of the biggest and most famous Ganesh mandal from Lalbaug. Tejukaya Cha Raja is also one of the popular Ganesh pandals that you must definitely visit.

Address: Tejukaya Building, Ganesh Lane, Ganesh Gully, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra

4. GSB Ganpati, Matunga

Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Mandal, King Circle, which is considered to be the city’s one of the wealthiest Ganpati pandals has taken an insurance cover of Rs 266.65 crore this year.

In 2017 and 2018 the mandal had an insurance cover of Rs 264.25 crore and 265 crore respectively.

The mandal has even taken care of its devotees as every visitor will have total coverage of Rs 20 crore.

GSB – Goud Saraswat Brahmin is one of the richest pandals in the city. They host this festival like nobody else, the Ganpati is loaded with gold ornaments and the decor adds more beauty to the idol. It is Matunga’s pride and the highlight of this pandal here are the dance and musical performances, dramas and mime acts performed on the stage. The celebrations here have a touch of Karnataka as the community was founded there. Come here to experience the most authentic way of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. Unlike other pandals, GSB’s Ganpati stays only for a period of 5 days. The closest station to the pandal is Matunga and once you reach the station you can take a cab till there.

Address: 65, 11, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Rd, Matunga, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400019

5. Chinatmani, Chinchpokli

The Chintamani rubs shoulders with some stalwarts — the Lalbaugcha Raja and Mumbaicha Raja, for instance — but has its fair share of fans. “The arrival of the idol on Sunday saw lakhs of devotees who came from far-off places. We did not even advertise its arrival,” says Umesh Nagi, president of the committee. “Faith draws people to this idol. It is called Chintamani, which means that it takes away all worries. We have never tried to advertise or market it that way. But people have experienced the change in their lives and believe in him. That is why Chinchpoklicha Chintamani enjoys the support it does.”

The celebrations are in full swing. Every year when the Ganesh idol comes into the pandal for the first time, there is a whole different level of energy. People from everywhere come to the streets to take a look at the murti, they dance to the beats and it is one of the best feelings. So many people rejoice the welcome of their beloved Bappa. This is one of the best Ganesh pandals in Mumbai and you must not miss out on this. You can reach here by getting down at Byculla, Dadar, Parel or Chinchpokli station and take a cab or bus from there.

Address: Chinchpokli, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400012

6. Khetwadi Cha Raja, Grant Road

While last year, the 8th Lane Mandal at Khetwadi had installed a replica of Baji Rao from the movie Bajirao Mastani, this year they preferred to Lord Hanuman theme. Khetwadi residents welcomed their 32-ft Ganesh idol which looked like a life-size effigy of Lord Hanuman, in their bylane late on Thursday night. The attractive idol is almost the size of a three storey building. Small bylanes were not an obstruction for the idol to be transported, but the long cable wires from one building to another posed transport threat for the procession.

Grant Road’s Khetwadi Cha Raja is seated on two bulls this year and I’m mesmerised just looking at this massive structure. This is South Mumbai’s most celebrated Ganesha and as you can see in the video below, it attracts a lot of devotees. This is a must-visit Ganesh pandal in Mumbai. You can get down at grant road railway station to reach the pandal.

Address: Grant Road Khetwadi Back Road &, 12th lane Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, 17, Cambhay House, Shop No. 8, 12th Khetwadi Lane, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400004

7. Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti, Andheri

A hub for celebrity-spotting during Ganesh Chaturthi, the pandal is themed on the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga of Ujjain this year. “Our team visited the temple and took special permissions to click pictures to replicate the temple. The trustees of Ujjain temple will also visit the pandal,” said mandal spokesperson Uday Salian. The idol of this mandal is trademarked. The puja was started by workers of Golden Tobacco Company, Tata Special Steel and Excel Industries Ltd in 1975, when they pledged that if the long strike of the companies end, they would keep the idol for 16 days. Clothes above knee-length are not allowed at this pandal.

AddressVeera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400053

8. Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle, Fort

A place set in 4700 sq feet of area has been created by art director Anant Savant and his team of 25 people from Rajasthan, who design the pandal for Pune’s Dagdusheth Ganpati as well. The pandal at Fort is known for its grand decoration. In the previous years, they have created a replica of a Rajasthani palace and a 40-feet large elephant gate, among others.

The mandal has also been promoting social causes and have earlier donated an endoscopy machine at a hospital. This year, they intend to donate a dialysis machine after the festivities.

Address – Mint Rd, Opp. GPO, Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400001

9. Keshavji Naik Chawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Girgaun

The chawl is where Ganpati festivities in the city began, and the organisers believe that they need to continue the celebrations in a traditional way. This mandal was also visited by Lokmanya Tilak. They murti at this mandal is made of shadu clay and the organisers opt for minimal decorations. Their pandal will be given a look of the temple.

Two years back, when the mandal completed 125 years, they had a grand celebration; otherwise the celebrations are usually low-key. However, this year, the mandal saved some money of the decoration to donate a computer, water purifier and stationary to flood affected people in Maharashtra.

Address – Nikadwari Ln, Kotachi Wadi, Ambewadi, Girgaon, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400004

10. Khetwadi’s Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal

Better known as Khetwadicharaja, the pandal has won many awards for best mandal and best idol. This idol, which is 15-feet high, is usually adorned with gold jewellery. This year, the organisers have tried a different kind of crown, instead of a diamond crown.

This year, the mandal has built a replica of Rajasthani palace.

Address- Grant Road Khetwadi Back Road &, 12th lane Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, 17, Cambhay House, Shop No. 8, 12th Khetwadi Lane, Khetwadi, Grant Road, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400004

Ganesh Chaturthi or puja is a time of enjoyment and merriment for the people of Mumbai. People take break from their busy lives to immerse themselves in the celebrations of the puja.