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NEW DELHI: Delicious modaks and grand processions welcomed Ganpati to the capital on Monday. Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were not confined to the Maharashtra Sadan as colourful Ganapati mandals were seen across the city. At least 38 mandals in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Noida and Delhi started a 10-day fiesta which will involve puja rituals and cultural activities.

At Maharashtra Sadan, there will be theatre performances by prominent Maharashtrian troupes, dance performances like lavani and koli, music and kirtan programmes. “On Ganesh Chaturthi we first had ‘pran pratishtha’ by establishing the idol. We also took out a huge procession from Mandi House to India Gate where about 150 people participated. There were many non-Maharashtrians too. People from other communities are equally excited about the festival and conduct Ganesh puja at their homes,” said Tekchand Sonawane of Maharashtra Sadan. He said the next 10 days of festivities will see over 1.5 lakh Delhi-based Maharashtrians participating.

“Many look forward to the scrumptious food at the festivities . People can try a variety of modaks, vada pav and paani puri,” added Sonwane. Modak, a sweet dumpling of rice-flour stuffed with a mix of coconut and jaggery, along with kheera pad (sugar, khas, coconut) and panchamrit (milk, curds, honey, sugar, ghee) are essential for the first puja.

Most Ganesha idols are brought to Delhi from Mumbai and cost between Rs 150 to Rs 2 lakh. “Raj Kapoor’s family in Delhi, for instance, buys the idol from us. A lot of people from other communities also order for idols,” said Sonwane.

There is also a Ganesh mandal at Dilli Haat and Paharganj. Before freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak turned it into a large public event with a view to uniting citizens, Ganesh puja was performed at home. “We eat vegetarian food and stay off alcohol; during evening, we invite friends and family over for prasad,” said Smitha Rao from Karnataka.

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