Each of the 14 lanes in Khetwadi, Grant Road (East), boasts its own Ganesh idol, but, as always, the queues are the longest outside the 12th one.
Inside the tall pandal, it is evident why: The mandal’s 12-foot Ganesh idol sits on a throne in a resplendent room with tall pillars and intricate floral carvings painted in crimson and gold, akin to the palace-like interiors of the Iskon temple in Juhu.
“Every year, we try to offer something new to our Lord and to our devotees. This year, we chose the theme of Iskon’s palace temple because our idol is majestic,” said Shankar Harare, secretary of Khetwadi’s 12th Galli Ganesh mandal, which has spent more than Rs. 25 lakh on organising the festival this year.
The mandal’s idol, popularly known as ‘Khetwadicha Ganaraj’, draws lakhs of devotees because of the wish-fulfilling powers it is believed to possess.
“No matter how hard it rains or how crowded the trains are, I make it a point to visit this idol at least once during the festival,” said Neelima Pathare, 46, from Vasai, who swears by the idol’s ability to heal all health problems.
This year, devotees will get a chance to view the tall idol at face-level, from a gallery erected opposite the throne. “On the last day of the festival, we will also distribute water to all devotees from a special counter outside the pandal,” said Harare. Donations are used to help those in financial need in the locality.