The Elephant God is here, and you can sense the accompanying fervour in the air. Devotional music, delectable sweets, and devotees can be found everywhere. Couponraja welcomes the beloved Hindu deity to the city and hopes that until the visarjan, finds himself at home in this inspiring city. To help you be a part of the magic that the Vighnaharta brings with him, and experience the majestic nature of his being, Couponraja recommends the following eight must-see Ganpati pandals in Mumbai of 2016:
1. Lalbaugcha Raja
If you want to be left mesmerised by the sheer devotion with which believers wait to get a glimpse of Bappa, then head to GD Ambedkar Road, Lalbaug market. With queues running for kilometres, one has to wait for almost 12-14 hours for darshan. This year’s 12-foot Ganesha idol sits regally on an owl shaped throne, surrounded by a palace themed pandal.
The God may not need any protection himself, yet more than 150 CCTVs will keep a watch on the idol which has been adorned with diamonds and 4.5kg of gold. In its 83rd year, Lalbaugcha Raja continues to be one of the richest pandals in the city with donations running into millions.
2. Mumbaicha Raja, Ganesh Galli
Since you’d already be in Lalbaug, how about just hopping onto the next lane, GD Goenka Road, and see Ganpati in a 22-foot tall avatar? Placed in a magnificent pandal resembling the Badrinath temple, the idol is beautifully placed on a lotus, giving off the illusion of the God springing from the flower.
Dazzling as always, Mumbaicha Raja’s hands & legs have been made out of 3kgs of gold each, to accompany the 5kg gold necklace gracing the deity. One of the grandest Ganesha idols in the city, you can view Ganesha’s splendour by standing in queue for anywhere between a few minutes to few hours.
3. Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle, Fort
As you enter the gloriously designed pandal resembling a Rajasthani palace, through a massive forty-foot gate replete with forty-six miniature elephants crafted into it, you can imagine yourself entering the abode of Ganesha. The Fortcha Icchapurthi’s home this year is the largest in the city, welcoming the thousands of devotees all through the day. To see the Ganesha in all his glory, a task undertaken by businessman Ravi Surve, a Ganesha devotee, head to the Fort area, near CST.
4. Goud Saraswat Brahmin Seva Mandal
CCTV cameras, round-the-clock police protection, ‘Gold Ganesh’ is home to one of the richest Ganesh pandals in Mumbai. In its history of 62 years, the GSB idol has received many generous offerings including a 17kg silver throne this year from a devotee. Keeping up with its tradition, this year too, the 14-foot idol was made out of the environmental friendly, shadu clay.
Ganesha graces the pandal for only five days, so if you want to be enchanted by the traditional South Indian music played at the pandal, head there soon and take in the view of the deity. Be a part of a social cause, along with GSB Seva Mandal as they help the stricken farmers of Maharashtra with the donations.
5. Andhericha Raja
When an art director (Dharmesh Shah) is in-charge of designing a Ganesh pandal, you know it’s going be grand. Two months of hard work involving around seventy workers has resulted in the impressive stage that boasts of twenty-one pillars and seventeen majestic chandeliers. To view the 8.5- foot tall idol, one must walk through the pravesh dwaar which is a sight in itself; the ten avatars of Vishnu & Ganesha’s Ashtavinayak will welcome you to the suburbs equivalent of South Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja.
Kunkeshwar Temple in the Konkan is the inspiration behind the theme of this year’s pandal, a temple built by a Muslim sailor. Fitting for our melting pot of a city, isn’t it?
6. Chinchpoklicha Chintamani
He is loved by the whole Universe, so why not make him a pandal that depicts the same? Designed by Aman Vidhate, an art director, the pandal looks surreal, with the 16-foot Ganesha sitting royally atop a 5-foot peacock throne. Turning the festivities into a commendable cause, the pandal members have urged the visitors to not bring any offerings; instead, donations which can be later used for a building a medical centre are welcomed. The remover of obstacles will surely be smiling, won’t he?
7. Khetwadicha Ganraj
Enter the Khetwadi area and you will be left pleasantly stunned with the sheer number of Ganesh pandals around. However, if you are short on time, just head to 12th Lane, and have a look at the huge 14- foot Ganesh idol, embellished with striking stones.
Quite innovative, the Roman and Rajasthani themed pandal will leave you with your mouth gaping at the beauty in front of you.
8. Keshavji Naik Chawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Girgaum
Ganesha had graced their door the earliest, as per legacy. The oldest Ganesha pandal in Maximum City, the pandal has never missed a celebration of the deity coming home…and it’s rarely with pompous fanfare or loud musical welcoming. Like every year, this year too, the pandal has made sure that they protect the environment by welcoming an eco-friendly Ganesh idol completed using hand-made paper. Head to Keshavji Naik chawl in Girgaum if you want to experience the simplicity of faith. After all, the sweet Ganesha is known for his humility, isn’t he?
With this, we hope that Ganesha does come early next year!