Pune woke up to a day of celebrations as Ganapati ‘Bappa’ marched into the city amidst beating dhols and reverberating incantations of ‘Ganapati bappa morya’ on Wednesday.
Yet, several parts of the city saw somewhat subdued celebrations, said festival patrons. Anand Saraf, a researcher on the festival in the city, said, “Areas such as Mahatma Phule Mandai, Shanipar chowk, Bel baug chowk and Shaniwarwada, among others, witnessed the full strength of celebrations. Youngsters’ participation this year was particularly impressive. However, other areas away from the interiors were relatively quiet this year.”
Saraf said that subdued celebrations in some parts of the city could be attributed to the on-going recession, with almost 60% mandals deciding to do away with mandap decorations and tableaux.
“However, celebrations in societies seem to be on a rise. I have seen more people this year wanting to celebrate the festival with their families inside their society,” he said.
The procession of the Kasba Ganapati, the first ‘manache’ Ganapati, was carried out with equal splendor it exhibits each year. The idol’s installation was done at 11:16 am at the hands of eminent scientist Vijay Bhatkar. As 120 enthusiastic members of Samartha Prathisthan and Shriwardhan ‘dhol-tasha’ groups performed joyously, as a new idol of lord Ganesha was placed in a palkhi made of silver.
It was then carried out in a procession through Laxmi Road, Budhwar chowk, among other areas, and later to the Kasba Ganapati mandap, where it was installed with much fanfare.
“There were 1,000-odd people participating in the procession. Unlike earlier, we did not throw ‘gulal’ into the air. Instead, we had two volunteers applying ’tilak’ on the foreheads of the participants,” said Bharat Rathod, president, Kasba Ganpati Mandal.
The second manache Ganapati, the Tambadi Jogeshwari Ganapati, was installed at 12 noon amidst much fanfare and celebrations.
The third Ganapati of honor, Guruju Talim, was six feet tall this year. The Shivgarjana Dhol pathak comprising 100 members along with 70 ladies of the group NaadBrahma (all of who donned ‘kesari phetas’ and nose rings) beguiled those in the procession with their performance.
The ‘Pran Pratishthapana’ of the idol took place at 12:30 pm.
The fourth Ganapati of honor, the Tulshibaug Ganapati, a 15-feet idol made of fiber glass in 1988, was not carried out in a procession. But the mandal volunteers rang in the festival with ‘sthir avarthan’ or a stationary dhol-tasha performance by a 100 members of the Gajalaxmi dhol pathak, who donned the Gandhi ‘topi’. “Advocate Anil Hirve, who undertook the ‘Pran Pratishthapana’ of the idol, donated us an ornate, wooden ‘chaurang’ upon which the idol was placed and taken to its seat of honor,” said Nitin Pandit, treasurer, Tulshebaug mandal. The decor of the mandap was based on the ‘peacock’ theme.
Meanwhile, the Hathi Ganapati mandal carried its idol in a procession that went through Tilak Road, Alka talkies chowk and finally to Navi Peth amidst 500-odd people. Two bands and two dhol-tasha groups played vigorously. The ‘Pran Pratishthapana’ of the Hathi Ganapati idol was done at 8 pm.