ANPUR: For those who think that it’s only Maharashtra that celebrates ‘Ganesh Chaturthi‘, the industrial city is a perfect answer. With big pandals and varied forms of Ganpati, the city looked like a mini-Mumbai on the first day of Ganpati Utsav, which started here on Monday.

Kanpur, home to thousands of Maharashtrians, witnessed a drastic rise in Ganpati Utsav this year. Approximately 1,000 small and big pandals have been erected in city. Talking to TOI, Prakash Kharwardkar, organizer of Sarvajanik Shree Ganesh Utsav Samiti, said that the entire purpose of having a big celebration of Ganesh Utsav is not only traditional or religious. “We are trying to bring the culture of Maharashtra to the north,” he added.

Even the district administration has geared up with heavy police and PAC force to look after the security arrangements at pandals. Even the fire brigade stations were ordered to keep tight arrangements to avoid any mishap. Astrologer Atul Dubey said, “This spectacular festival honours the birth of Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is popularly worshiped to remove obstacles and bring good fortune. Ganesh Utsav falls in late August or early September, depending on the cycle of the moon. ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ falls on the fourth day after new moon in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada.”

For 10 days, from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, Ganesha is worshipped. On the11th day, the idol is taken through streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of mankind.

On the first day of ‘Utsav’ hurried workers were trying to finish the last stage of construction in pandals. Local shopkeepers are busy putting up their stalls outside the temple and in the market to attract the city denizens.

Thousands of devotees thronged the famous Ganesh temple at, Suterkhana, Shivalaya, Bithoor etc on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi. Long queues were seen outside the temple since early morning. Most of the devotees were barefoot, standing under the sun and chanting ‘Ganpati Bappa Moriya’, which could be heard aloud, giving strength and solace to the long beeline of devotees.

In the evening hours, people thronged the Ganpati pandals where maha-aarti was performed with bhajan sandhya and gulal playing. The lightings and display of the pandals gave the city a festive look, which forced the people to stay on streets till late night hours. The Ganpati Pandals witnessed huge rush on day one of Ganesh Utsav which gradually increased with every passing day.

Meanwhile, Ganesh Chaturthi was celebrated with religious fervour in Varanasi on Monday. Hundreds of devotees thronged temples to worship Lord Ganesha and to seek blessings of the Lord on the occasion. Heavy rush was seen at Bada Ganesh Temple, Chintamani Ganesha Temple and Sakshi Ganesha Temple.

Lambodara Chintamani and Jyestha Vinayka at Lali Ghat witnessed day long offering of prayers by the devotees. A number of Marathi visitors and local people with Marathi origin also thronged the temples and ghats to celebrate the 10-day long Ganesha Mahotsava. Meanwhile, special shringar and aarti was also held at various temples. A number of women also observed fast and prayed for the wellbeing of their family members on the occasion.

Meanwhile, special bhajan and kirtan were organised in different temples, muths and ashrams in the city. Besides, several puja committees geared up for the festivity by setting up puja pandals adorning colourful and attractive idols of Lord Ganesha.Festive spirit was also visible at Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sankat Mochan, Durgakund temple and other prominent temples of the city. Many devotees decorated their houses and conducted special pujas in their homes. The business community also organised various special puja events.