This year’s Ganesh Chaturthi marks the 125th celebration of the festival after freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadharv Tilak called upon people in 1892 to turn the private, household festival into a gala event.
The festivities began this morning with ‘Ganesh sthapna’ (installation of the idol) followed by prayers. People stood in long queues to offer payers at the famous pandals of Lalbaugcha Raja pandal, Keshavji Naik Chawl at Girgaum, Mumbaicha Raja, Parelcha Raja, Andhericha Raja and Tilak Nagar.
“Till last evening, 935 mandals were given permission by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) while applications for setting ups 911 mandals were still pending. Last year, 1,393 mandals were given permission,” a senior civic official said.
This year the number of applications received by the BMC saw a decline, he said. He added that civic officials have been asked to keep a close watch on the organisers and their activities and to check if pandals were set up illegally.
“With a view to popularise the festival among foreign tourists, the BMC along with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation will set up a ‘shamiana’ (makeshift ceremonial tent) at Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai to witness the religious fervour and ‘visarjan‘ (immersion of idols),” he said.
Girgaum Chowpatty is a key spot for the immersion of idols in the city.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Rashmi Karandikar, the spokesperson of Mumbai police, yesterday said elaborate security arrangements have been put in place across the city for the festival.
Prominent mandals have been asked to install CCTV cameras, while adequate police force has been deployed at multiple spots and the pandals receiving high footfall.
To prevent noise pollution during the festival, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti, the umbrella body of Ganpati mandals in Mumbai, has appealed the organisers to keep the sound level of loudspeakers low.
“The mandals have been asked to follow the rules and keep the sound level low in the best possible way and cooperate with the police and the BMC,” Samiti president Naresh Dahibhavkar told PTI.
The celebrations will culminate on September 5 with the immersion of idols. While, the big mandals perform the immersion on the last day, small organisers and people setting up the idols at home generally do it either after one-and-a-half day, third, fifth or seventh day.