Category Archives: Ganesh Festival in Pune

Peshwas celebrated with splendour

PUNE: The Ganeshotsav festival that we celebrate with so much fervour was an annual affair in Pune even during the Peshwa era. If the accounts of the festivities then are to be believed, the Peshwas celebrated Ganeshotsav with unparalleled splendour from 1750 till 1800, spending at least Rs 1 lakh annually on it.

History researcher Pandurang Balkawde, who found records of expenses incurred on the festival during the aforementioned period at the Peshwa Daftar in Pune Archives, said that the Peshwas would celebrate the festival in Shaniwarwada‘s darbar hall back then.

Balkawde said that the Peshwas had a Ganeshotsav of their own 250 years ago. “The accounts, which are written in the Modi script, give a detailed description of how the festival was celebrated then. It is believed that the elephant God was the family deity of the Peshwas, which is why the darbar hall in the wada was named as Ganesh Rang Mahal. Before laying the foundation stone of the wada, the Peshwas installed a Ganesh idol at its precincts, while the gate to the east was named Ganesh Darwaza,” he said.

The darbar hall had its very own Ganesh idol, which was crafted in pure gold. “Peshwas would regularly assemble there out of devotion and love for Ganapati. The festival was observed in the Hindu calender month of Bhaadrapada for a period of five days. A Ganesh idol made of mud would be placed before the gilded idol to herald the festival. As many as 50 artistes – both Hindus and Muslims – including goldsmiths, painters, carpenters and blacksmiths, would be employed to design and decorate the ‘makhar’ (decorative structure) surrounding the idol,” he said, adding that expensive metals such as gold and silver were used in the decoration.

The installation would be followed with elaborate prayer ceremonies by as many as 51 priests, from morning till night. “In addition, hundreds of singers and dancers belonging to varied castes, creeds, religions and coming from different corners of India would perform at the darbar hall during all the five days of the festival. The Peshwas would pay them in cash and kind. People from all over Maharashtra would visit the wada to witness the festivities and they would be served lavish meals twice during the day,” said Balkawde.

According to Balkawde, the Ganeshotsav celebration then speaks at length about India’s culture and its unity in diversity. “Even then, the festival had people belonging to different creeds, sects and faiths assemble together, which is an excellent example of India’s oneness,” he added.



Ganesh Chaturti of Pune

Today Pune has the best kind of celebrations when festivals like Ganpati come and there are mandals which are built without digging the road and keeping the traffic and environment in mind. Pune has a system of having the whole celebration streamlined. It organizes competitions for decorations, concept, theme etc and thus brings about a sense of discipline and responsibility on the organizers. Those mandals which focus on environmental causes, rainwater harvesting, nature conservation etc get some special recognition. This inspires many mandals to have blood donation camps, campaigns on the importance of the girl child, spreading the awareness of AIDS etc.

In such circumstances it becomes necessary to get to know some of the major mandals in Pune.

Kasba Ganpati First Ganpati of Honor in Pune

Existing since the year 1893, this is located in the Kasba Peth in Pune. Since then it has occupied the first position. It is believed that a Ganpati idol was discovered near the residence of one Shri Vinayak Thakar. In sheer devotion, he got a temple constructed here. This is the Gram Daivat of the idol. Today the mandal has the best tableaux ever. It draws inspiration from history, social issues and epics. There are stories from Sai Baba’s life, or sometimes it is something historical. With Anna Hazare, the social activist catching everyone’s interest, even that becomes a topic for mandals. Visit this mandal to see what the surprise is this year.

Tambdi Jogeshwari Second Ganpati of Honor in Pune

This is the second most popular of the Ganpati idols in the city of Pune. Existing since the year 1893, it is located at Budhwar Peth. This is one of the idols that were erected when Lokmanya Tilak, the Indian leader started the festival with the idea of uprising the social Indian class. Today this centenary and seven year old mandal is a unique combination of devotion and creativity. The idol very much resembles elephants from Africa.

Guruji Talim Third Ganpati of Honor in Pune

Third in the line of popularity, this Ganpati is located at the Ganpati Chowk in Laxmi road in the city of Pune. This was started in the year 1887 and existed even before the Indian leader Lokmanya Tilak publicized the festival for the betterment of the masses. This established a unity between the Hindus and the Muslims. This was incidentally the first among the mandals which celebrated a 100 years of existence.

Tulsibaug Fourth Ganpati of Honor in Pune

This is the fourth line of fame in the Ganpati mandals. This is also the oldest and the famous mandal in the city of Pune. It is more famous for its huge idol and also amongst the first to make an idol out of fiber glass. Mr. D.S. Khataokar is the architect who creates this idol measuring 15 feet.

Kesariwada  Fifth Ganpati of Honor in Pune

Located at Narayanpeth in Tilakwada in Pune, this Ganpati mandal exists since the year 1893. This is important as it was established by the Indian leader Lokmanya Tilak. With issues of social causes always depicted and the awareness spread, this mandal has a social programme with speeches given by experienced people. It also encourages children and women to take part in competitions organized.

Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganpati

Having the dubious distinction of being the richest Ganpati in the city, the Puneites come here to visit their favourite idol. Existing since 1893, it is managed by the trust of the same name

Pune Festival opens amidst fanfare

Pune: The 23rd Pune Festival was inaugurated amidst much fanfare by filmmaker Subhash Ghai at the Ganesh Kala Krida Rangmanch on Friday evening. Also present on the occasion were minister for forests Patangrao Kadam and minister for cooperation Harshawardhan Patil.

“To make Pune Festival’s silver jubilee celebrations in 2013 a grand affair, we are planning cultural connectivity between all the districts in the state. We request Subhash Ghai to help contribute to this plan particularly through his film and television training academy, Whistling Woods International. We also hope that the festival will be celebrated at the international level,” said Patil.

Ghai extended his support, saying, “I’ve had a long connection with Pune. I will do whatever it takes to make Pune Festival 2013 successful and raise it to the international level. I request participation from citizens as well.”

Dedicated to Bharat Ratna Late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, the festival began with a screening of a documentary on Panditji. This was followed by his disciple Upendra Bhat rendering ‘Maajhe Maher Pandhari,’ one of the celebrated ‘abhangs’ sung by Panditji. Well-known actor-danseuse Sharvari Jamenis presented the customary ‘Ganesh Vandana’.

Other offerings for the evening included actor Subodh Bhave’s (of ‘Balgandharva’ fame) presentation of a song from the iconic sangeet natak ‘Maan Apamaan,’ which completes 100 years this year, and a ‘Dhol-tasha’ performance by Vijay Chavan and troupe, reflecting the musical traditions of Maharashtra.

Renowned educationist S B Mujumdar and senior orthopaedic surgeon K H Sancheti, were honoured with this year’s Pune Festival awards by Kadam and Ghai respectively. “Suresh Kalmadi is conspicuous by his absence, but I see this event becoming a people’s festival and gaining larger proportions in the near future,” said Mujumdar.

Krishnakant Kudale, chief coordinator of the festival, said the festival is no longer limited to Pune alone. “It has spread to other parts of the state and similar festivals are organised in smaller cities and towns,” he said. In 2013 we hope to have the festival reflecting the cultural diversity of Maharashtra,” said Kudale.

Present on the occasion were filmmaker, Jabbar Patel, collector, Vikas Deshmukh, MLA Ramesh Bagwe, industrialist Madhur Bajaj, deputy mayor Prasanna Jagtap, corporator Abhay Chhajed, and Till Reuter and Lawrence Drake from KUKA Robotics Corp, among others.

The inauguration concluded with a medley of ‘lawani’ remixes presented by actors Sonali Kulkarni, Manasi Naik, Smita Shewale, Shruti Marathe, Sharvari Jamenis, Neha Pendse, and members of the Indradhanu group.

Source: Times News Network

Special seurity arrangements around Dagdusheth Temple

The city police are specially focusing on security around Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati temple, known to be the biggest attraction during the Ganpati festival in Pune. The religious place is suspected to be on the radar of terror outfits. Pune police commissioner Meeran Borwankar said she recently discussed security issues with members of Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati Mandal.

Borwankar said Pune police have received inputs from ATS and other intelligence agencies about the suspected terrorist movements in the city. She said specifications of the inputs could not be shared with media.

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner of police (special branch) Makrand Ranade said, “All crowded places and those having a history are being looked at. We are considering Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati temple as the centre. Special security arrangements are made within 2 km radius of the temple. Besides, there is a watch on 89 spots mentioned under our communal riot scheme. Our 300 special branch officers and constables would be keeping a close watch round the clock on sensitive spots.”


14 ghats adopted for Lord Ganesha immersion in Pune

PUNE: A social organisation, eCoexist, has joined hands with the SWaCH cooperative to ‘adopt a ghat’ during idol immersion this Ganesh festival. So far, three corporates have adopted 14 ghats (river banks used for religious ceremonies) in the city. The idea is to keep rivers clean.

Besides providing funds to keep the ghats clean, employees of these corporate houses will help collect and dispose of ‘nirmalya’ which is thrown in water bodies at the time of immersion.

Manisha Gutman, the founder of eCOexist told TOI that for the first time corporates have taken the initiative to clean rivers during immersion. The volunteers will sensitise people on the harmful effects of immersing idols in rivers and divert them to immersion tanks provided by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).


Much awarded Ganesh Mandal of Pune keeps Tilak tradition alive

Located in Sahakarnagar bylanes, Aranyeshwar Mandal is one of the few Ganesh mandals that still uphold the tradition started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak of using it as a platform to spread social message and address social issues. Its continuous efforts over the past 52 years has earned the mandal a record 350 awards.

“When we started the mandal, our main aim was to ensure people were informed about socio-political happenings around them so that they could be aware of them. Ever since we have been decorated the mandal only with themes with social relevance,” says Arun Jangawli president of the Mandal.

And for that, the mandal has till date won over 350 awards from different organisations across the state, the latest being Jai Ganesh Bhushan Award bestowed by the Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Trust, and which carries a prize of Rs 1 lakh. Having topped the list of best mandals for the last three years, Jangawli says for them, the festival is not an occasion to merely revel and waste money collected by them on smaller things. “We need to focus on what we want to show to people,” he says adding, “Hence we take up themes like pollution, corruption, climate, population explosion and even illnesses like AIDS and swine flu.” In fact, in the 90s, owing to such themes, it was for five years straight from 1995 to 2000 that they won the award given by the Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Trust. In addition, they have won awards from the PMC and also from the Rotary Foundation three times each.


Kasba Ganpati Road chokes in road works, heavy traffic


Pune: If you are planning to visit the Kasba Ganpati, make sure you have enough time in hand to wait at the traffic jams. For the ongoing concretisation work on a 300 metre portion of the road near Kasba Ganpati temple has resulted in the road becoming chock-ablock with traffic.

With the monsoon already here, the road, which is narrow as per urban norms, has become a nightmare for the citizens, who, now, only hope that the work is over soon. The concretisation had started in early May.

The temple, known as the gram-daivat (presiding deity) of Pune city, is also a tourist attraction and witnesses large number of devotees and tourists visiting. To ease the congestion, the vendors outside the temple have been allocated spots to set up small shops.

Kasba Peth also has an online booking facility for Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh. With hundreds of devotees visiting the centre daily for booking their tickets, the place is always crowded.

Vishal Chaudhari, a salesman in Kasba Peth, says, “The road is blocked by heavy traffic every day due to the concretization work. No barricades are placed to prevent the commuters from entering the under-construction part on the road. Instead of erecting iron barricades, the corporation has put thin stripes that are not visible at night, causing a major inconvenience to the residents.”

Congress corporator from the area Vidya Bhokare claims the work was slightly delayed as electricity and other underground cables had to be shifted to the side of the road. We are expecting the work to be over by next week, says Bhokare.

Sachin Mhaswade, a private bank employee, fears that if it starts raining heavily, the underconstruction area will be waterlogged . “As there are no visible barricades, commuters might fall into the duct, especially during rains. It is dangerous as the construction is on in a residential area where children play in the evening .”

Sunil Kesari, ward officer of the area, observes, “Kasba peth, with all its narrow roads and traffic congestion, had unique problems , such as non-availability of free land for dumping the construction material, apart from typical issues such as delay in issuing tenders and work orders. However, efforts are on to complete the construction work as soon as possible.”

MLA Girish Bapat says, “The work might be delayed because of the shifting of the duct to the roadside for laying various cables . But, the work would be finished soon and once it’s completed traffic situation will ease. The concretised, wide road will solve the bottleneck near the temple.”

A Ganapati mandal run by sex workers, eunuchs

At the Vaibhav Mitra Mandal, aartis and poojas have been performed by sex workers and eunuchs since it began celebrating Ganeshotsav in 1968. All castes and religions enthusiastically take part in the celebrations.

The Ganapati temple of the mandal stands at a place that was a garbage dump once.

“There was a garbage dump in Budhwar Peth that we cleared to build the Ganapati and Renuka Devi temple,” said Prakash Kuchekar, president of the mandal. “Our tradition has never changed in the past four decades.”

One of the better-known Ganapati mandals in the city, it is the only place where aartis and poojas are performed exclusively by sex workers and hijras.

“Of the total 450 hijras and 1,500 sex workers as members, we have people who are Hindu, Muslim and Christian and others,” Mallika Shaikh, a hijra from the area. “There are no barriers of caste, region or even sex.” B Penna Gabriel, who runs Ashirwad, an NGO that works for hijras in Budhwar Peth, said hijras were living like outcastes even after 63 years of Independence and that the Ganeshotsav helped them get over the hurt.

“Ganeshotsav is the time when we are treated like equals at this mandal and we get to forget our problems and enjoy the festival just like anyone else,” Gabriel said. The proceeds collected from the mandal go towards the education and upbringing of children of sex workers.  “If any hijras or sex workers fall sick, then some of the money collected is given to them for treatment. but the main purpose of this Ganapati mandal is to make people give us a place in the mainstream of society,” said Ranuka Korvi, a woman member of the mandal. 

Vaibhav mandal
> The Vaibhav Mitra Mandal was established by
the late Digambar Khanse Chandrakant Takawale
and a devdasi, the late Pramilabai Pawar

> It’s members consist of 1,500 sex workers and 450 hijras besides the residents of Dhamdhare Galli in Budhwar Peth

> Over 2,000 sex workers and hijras participate in the Renuka Devi procession, which goes down Laxmi Road on May 12 every year

> The mandal’s budget for last year was Rs 1.97 lakh

31,000 throng Pune’s Dagduseth Halwai pandal for Atharvasheersh Pathan at

As many as 31,000 women thronged the narrow lanes in front of the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati pandals as early as 5 am on the second day of the Ganesh festival this year. The streets leading to the famed pandals have seen similar crowds every year on Rishi Panchami for the past 22 years. The women visit the place to attend the Atharvasheersh Pathan and the Maha Aarti.  

A the brain child of Arun and Shubhangi Bhalerao, the event started with 100 women. Last year 19,000 women attended the event. “The Atharvasheersh Pathan usually happens at 6 am. It is a community pooja that is done every year by us so that the women can spread the light of the Lord to the four corners of the city. We began this as an experiment 22 years ago and ever since numbers have just grown,” says Shubhangi Bhalerao.  

Women come dressed in traditional Navari sarees and jewellery. Arun Bhalerao, the convenor of the programme, says, “We usually give out badges to the women who take part in it. We have around 200 self help groups that are also in sync with us, whose members come in for the programme.”

Must see Sarvajanik Ganapati pandals in Pune

Akhil Mandai Ganapati Trust is one of the immensely important Mandals in Pune. Words don’t suffice to describe the beauty of the idol of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Sharada sitting on the swing. The entire decoration here gives you the feel of a royal palace. The beautiful carvings in the background are just awesome. Come you must and bathe in the sheer beauty here.

Akhil Mandai Ganapati Trust

Rajarshi Shahu Chowk Ganeshotsav Mandal

The grand set up of the Pagoda put up by the Rajarshi Shahu Chowk Ganeshotsav Mandal is indeed a treat to watch. You must come and experience the magnificence of the sight.

Rajarshi Shahu Chowk Ganeshotsav Mandal

Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai

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Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai

Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Trust needs no introduction in India. Keeping with the past tradition the trust has erected a huge palace called Bhagyoday Parasad. In this palace the ever beautiful idol of Lord Ganesha has been placed artistically among the flower decorations which make Ganesha look like a king. The two artificial lions at the entrance are catching the eye of all as they look real. The entire decoration of the Bhagyodaya Prasad fills your mind with a sense of awe. If you don’t come here this year, you are going to miss something very special indeed.

Hutatma Babu Genu

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Hutatma Babu Genu Ganesh

Hutatma Babu Genu Ganesh Mandal Trust near the Mahatma Phule Vegetable market is pulling oodles of people as the trust has made the Ichchha Poorti Kund. You are supposed to stand at a certain distance and throw a coin in the big vessel placed in the middle of the pond. The big image of Lord Shiva too has been placed in the pond. If you manage to throw the coin right into the vessel, rest assured Lord Ganesh will fulfill all your wishes. The idol of the Mandal too is awesome and people are rushing to bow down before Ganesh having many wishes blooming in their minds

Ganapati Chowk Mitra Mandal

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Ganapati Chowk Mitra Mandal

Ganapati Chowk Mitra Mandal on the Laxmi Road has made a perfect replica of Lalbagcha Raja who is considered to be the king of Mumbai. The beauty of this idol lies in the ornaments and the anatomical perfection shown by the sculptor.

Navajawan Mitra Mandal near the famous Hotel Lajjat in Sadashiv Peth is presenting a huge moving scene of Shri Saibaba. The mandal has made a huge 55 feet high idol of Saibaba which has become the center of attraction this year. People are crowding to have the enlivening experience of taking blessings from Saibaba.

Shri Vinayak Mitra Mandal

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Shri Vinayak Mitra Mandal Trust

Shri Vinayak Mitra Mandal Trust near the Bhide Pool joining Deccan Bus Stop and the Narayan Peth area is presenting the live scene of the coronation ceremony of King Shivaji. The grandeur of the scene lies in the rich costumes and ornaments of King Shivaji and his noblemen in the court. The Ganesh idol of the mandal is red in color and showing Ganesh in an impressive dancing pose.



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