Those who believe that Mumbai is the only city which glows blindingly with religious fervour on Ganesh Chaturthi had to witness the scale and intensity of celebrations in the industrial town of Kanpur on Wednesday to set their beliefs right.
With various dedicated committees having sprung up over the past few years, as many as 600 small and big tableaux were set up on the first day of Ganesh Utsav in the city.
These would, over the coming days, witness prayers and devotion offered to Ganesha, as well as cultural programmes amid the ringing notes of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya.’
But apart from the big statues placed in these tableaux, smaller forms of the Lord were also welcomed in thousands of city homes. Idol makers from the city said the tradition has spreadover the years, and this year’s celebrations are perhaps unprecedented.
The fact that the city is home to more than 2000 Maharashtrian families is largely responsible for this trend. Talking to TOI, Prakash Kharwardkar, the organiser of Sarvajanik Shree Ganesh Utsav Samiti, said the purpose of celebrating Ganesh Utsav in a big way is not only traditional or religious.
“We are trying to get the culture of Maharashtra to the north and facilitate integration in the spirit of our country’s ideals,” he said.
While hurried workers were seen trying to give a finishing touch to the ‘pandals’, local shopkeepers are busy putting up attractive stalls outside temples and in markets. Thousands of devotees thronged the popular Ganesh temples at Suterkhana, Shivalaya, and Bithoor on the occasion.
Long queues were witnessed outside the temples since early morning for the Lord’s darshan on the auspicious occasion. The beelines of the barefoot devotees were energized every now and then by chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya.’
In the evening, people thronged the Ganpati pandals where Maha-Aarti was performed with Bhajan Sandhya and playing with gulal.
The district administration meanwhile has geared up for the occasion with as many as 500 civil police and PAC personnel looking after the security at pandals. Fire stations have also been asked to stay alert throughout the day and be prepared for exigencies.