Category Archives: Sarvajanik Ganesh Installations
For Bal Yuva Mandal in Goshamahal that installs unique idols every year, this year it’s a Ganesha made of dry fruits. In all, about 4 kg of cashew nuts, 4 kg of almonds, 4 kg of pistachio nuts, 3 kg of walnut, 5 kg of raisins, 3 kg of cardamom, half a kilogramme of cloves and other commodities have been used for making the idol
For most visitors to Goshamahal this Vinayaka Chaturthi season, not to speak of those living in the vicinity, a halt at Bal Yuva Mandal’s pandal in Hindi Nagar is part of their schedule. The divine charm that’s attracting devotees by the hordes is the unique Ganesha idol, made of 38 kg of dry fruits and other commodities.
In all, about 4 kg of cashew nuts, 4 kg of almonds, 4 kg of pistachio nuts, 3 kg of walnut, 5 kg of raisins, 3 kg of cardamom, half a kilogramme of cloves and other commodities have been used for making the idol. It took about 40 days for the eight-member group of youngsters aged between 18 and 22 years to make the idol, which stands over six feet in height. The best thing about the idol is, it is made of clay and the group has fixed the dry fruits and spices using adhesive.
“We placed an order for the idol two months before the festival with an idol maker in Dhoolpet. It was painted white and we fixed the dry fruits and spices on the idol’s surface,” explains Akash Agarwal, founder of Bal Yuva Mandal.
It’s been just four years since the association was formed and it has already made a mark in the locality by installing unique idols. “Earlier we had installed Ganesha idols made of pearls and coins. This year we got over 50,000 ‘likes’ for the dry fruit Ganesha on Facebook,” claims Mr. Agarwal.
This year, the association is organising an art exhibition of hand paintings of 11 different Ganesha idols. Mandal members are planning to immerse the idol along with the dry fruits in Hussainsagar on September 18, he adds.
A Ganesha mandal in Mahidharpura’s Daliya Sheri – a diamond hub – has adorned the giant nine-foot Lord Ganesha idol with over 35,000 small and big CZ diamonds worth lakhs of rupees studded in gold and silver ornaments.
The gold and silver plated crown is studded with 5,000 diamonds, 6,500 diamonds in the legs and hand, three gold and silver necklace with 12,500 diamonds, gold earrings with over 2,000 diamonds and four gold and silver bracelets with 2500 diamonds.
There is a small two-foot Ganpati idol made of gold and silver and based on the leaf theme, which has been placed in the middle of the pandal. One of the devotees has gifted the idol to the mandal. Each leaf is adorned with over 700 CZ diamonds and the portion that forms the Lord’s stomach has more than 2,000 CZ diamonds.
Gaurav Jariwala of Mahidharpura Daliyasheri Pragati Mandal told TOI, “We have been adorning the Ganesha idol since 1976. Every year, new ornaments are designed for the Vighnaharta. This time around, we have designed four gold and silver bracelets comprising more than 2,000 diamonds.”
For the pandal organizers, security of the costliest Ganesha idol studded with gold, silver and diamond ornaments is a big challenge. The entire pandal is under the CCTV surveillance for 24 hours. For the whole day and night around 25 trained security guards and over 150 mandal members will keep a close eye on the Ganesha idol. Anil Patel, president of Mahidharpura Daliyasheri Pragati Mandal, said, “We are not getting any support from police department on the security front. However, we have our own security system in place. Since 1976 not a single incident of robbery has been reported.”
According to Patel, special arrangements are made on the Dumas beach for the immersion of the costliest idol. The original ornaments are replaced with floral ornaments during the immersion day and a heavily guarded vehicle is used for transporting the valuable ornaments to the bank locker.
Gaurav Jariwala said, “During the last five days ahead of the immersion day, the pandal has more than 12,000 visitors in a day. This time around we have decorated the pandal on the theme based on Swaminarayan Temple.”
Where: Ganesh Galli, Mumbai
Famous for: Oldest Ganesh pandal in the city
The history: One of the oldest known Ganesh pandals in the state, the Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, Ganesh Galli started the festival in 1928 to inspire people to fight for their rights in the pre-independence era. Throughout the 10 days of the festival, after the evening pooja, the organisers would host plays like the Ramayana and Mahabharata and screen regional movies to raise awareness about India’s rich culture and various art forms.
In the year 1977, the pandal entered its 50th year and to celebrate the occasion, erected a 22 ft idol, which went on to become the first biggest Ganesh idol in the whole of Maharashtra. While the record was subsequently broken by Khetwadicha Raja in the year 2000, the organisers have ensured to keep the idol well over 20 ft since then. This is despite the BMC issuing a warning to restrict the height of idols to 18 feet.
The idol this year: The 22 ft idol designed by Biharilal giri and 200 workers is set against the backdrop of Pashupathinath temple, Nepal. The entrance to the pandal features the 12 famous jyotirlingas in the country.
“A lot of people in our country are religious and due to lack of time and resources are unable to visit the sacred places. Every year, we attempt to replicate one of these temples to make people aware of our culture and heritage and also give them a real-life experience of visiting the place,” shared Swapnil Parab, secretary to the mandal.
Where: Girgaon, Mumbai
Famous for: It’s the tallest, eco-friendly idol made of clay
The history: In 1928, Ramchandra Tendulkar, who was the Mandal’s treasurer at that time, started the Ganesh Utsav in the Nikadvari Lane. The speciality of the Ganesh idol at Girgaon is that it is one of the few idols in the state that is made out of clay.
Unlike the regular idols which are made out of Plaster of Paris, the Girgaoncha Raja is made of Shadu clay, a special type of clay which is imported from West Bengal and is also used to make Durga idols for the Durga pooja.
Another tradition here is that since the last 85 years, the Patkar family is in charge of making the idols, which are peculiarly over 20 feet in height every year.
The idol this year: This year, too, the idol is 21 feet high and is sculpted by architect Rajan Patkar. The idol weighs 2 tons.
Sanjay Harmalkar, the secretary to the Mandal informs me that they want to spread the message of eco-friendliness through their clay idols.
“Every year, after the immersion, we see so many fragments of PoP Ganeshas in the sea. Not only is it disrespectful to the idol, but it is also harmful to the environment. The cleaning up also takes longer time. Although difficult to make, the advantage of clay idols is that they melt easily during immersion. On behalf of my Mandal, I’d like to request everyone to choose eco-friendly Ganeshas over PoP ones,” says Harmalkar who has been using the mandal’s Facebook page to spread this message among young people.
Where: Lalbaug, Mumbai
Famous for: It is known to fulfil your wishes
The history: In 1932, a temporary but prime market place in the Peru Chawl area of Lalbaug was shut down by the government. The fishermen and vendors who lost their livelihood decided to pray to Ganesha to help them with a permanent place to do business. Thanks to the efforts of a few councillors in the area, a new market was constructed in the same place.
In celebration, the localites formed the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal in Lalbaug in 1934.
Since Ganesha fulfilled the wish (navas) of the fishermen and vendors, the Lalbaug Ganpati also came to be known as ‘the wish-fulfilling one.’
The first Ganesh idol was incepted on September 12, 1934. Since then, the mandal is thronged with visitors throughout the 10 days of the festival.
The idol this year: The Ganesh idol this year stands 12 feet tall and took two months to be ready. Santosh Kambli, who sculpted the idol this year, belongs to the third generation of architects responsible for the patented design and decorations of the Raja.
The cost of the idol is Rs 60,000, but the decorations and other arrangements work up to 17 lakhs.
During the 10 day event, the pandal is visited by over 1 crore visitors every year and on weekends, organisers inform that it becomes difficult to accommodate people in the 3 lakh sq ft area surrounding the pandal.
Lalbaugcha Raja is also one of the richest Ganeshas in the whole of Maharashtra.
“Our every day collections sometimes round up to a crore. Just yesterday’s collections touched 85 lakhs,” informed Rajendra Lanjwal, treasurer of the mandal.
Lanjwal reveals that the money thus collected is utilised for social purposes under the initiative titled Lalbaugcha Raja Prabhodini. Some of the projects financed under the Lalbaugcha Raja Prabhodini include the Sane Guruji Abhyasika (a place for children to study), Swatantryaveer Savarkar Library, Sant Dnyaneshwar Reference Book Bank, Swami Vivekanand Scholarship (Scholarships for poor and deserving students) and Competitive examination counselling centre (to prepare students for IAS and IPS exams).
Where: Lane 12, Khetwadi, Mumbai
Famous for: They made the tallest ever Ganesh idol in Maharashtra
The history: When the Khetwadi Mandal was incepted in 1959, it had humble beginnings. However, in 1984, the members of the Mandal started collecting one rupee coins as donation towards their dream of making the largest Ganpati in the state.
With each passing year, the height of the Ganesh idol rose from 28 to 35 feet high. In the year 2000, the Khetwadi Mandal fulfilled their long cherished dream and created history. They made the highest idol of Ganesha — a whopping 40 feet high statue replete in Parshuram Avtar, which is claimed to be the highest idol of Ganesh in the Indian history.
Since then, there has been no looking back for them.
The idol this year: The organisers have tried to recreate Mumbai’s Hare Rama Hare Krishna temple this year. The 15 feet tall idol is made from Plaster of Paris and is adorned by jewels and accessories made of pure gold. It is designed by architect Raju Shinde and claims to be the fourth richest Ganesha this year next to GSB Seva Mandal, Sion, GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti, Wadala and Lalbaugcha Raja.
Over 100 workers have assisted Shinde in completing the idol, which cost the Mandal Rs 1, 20,000. “We spent close to Rs 40 lakhs on the decorations and theme,” added Ranjeet Mathur, President, Khetwadi Mandal.
In the past, this Mandal has recreated themes like the Sheesh Mahal (palace of mirrors), Raj Mahal (Palace of the King), Swarg Mahal (Palace in Heaven) and Deep Mahal (Palace of Lamps).
GSB Samaj Ganeshotsav
Where: Ram Mandir, Wadala
Famous for: Adorned in a 22 karat gold-plated throne and precious jewels, it’s the richest Ganesh idol in the city
The history: The Goud Saraswat Brahmin Samaj started the festival in 1955 with the sole aim of uniting the Goud Saraswat Brahmin community in Mumbai. Over the years, it is said to have answered the prayers of lakhs of people from different communities which went on to attract visitors from various parts of Mumbai. While some of them rewarded in cash, others donated gold and coins to the deity. In the year 2011, the GSB Samaj sought an insurance cover of Rs 222 crore for the idol. Needless to say, the GSB Samaj Ganesha is known to be the richest deity in the city.
The idol this year: The 8-feet high idol adorned in gold and jewels donated by its visitors is a sight to behold.
“We offer various poojas for our visitors throughout the day at subsidised costs. Everyone is equal before God and it is our duty to spread the message through the festival. We want people to experience peace and divinity while they are here,” shared NN Pal, trustee chairman, GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti, Wadala.
Where: Bhandarkar Road, Matunga East, Mumbai
Famous for: Provides food to over 20,000 people through the festival
The history: In 1962, a few residents from Bhandarkar Road area came together to start the festival and promote a social cause. Unlike the other Ganesh pandals which collect money from locals and residents for the festival, the Bhandarkar Road Sarvajanik Seva Samiti works in peculiar way.
“We don’t go door to door collecting money. Whatever money comes through donations is used to make the idol. Even the jewels and throne are not owned by the mandal. There are some noble people who have agreed to contribute to it. After the festival, they take it with them and provide it again the following year,” informs Rajendra Verma, a committee member who has taken leave from work to look into the arrangements.
The idol this year: The 11-ft idol designed by Ashok Parab stands in a busy street in Matunga. Every child who visits the idol is offered a chocolate bar instead of sweets.
Each evening through the 10-day festival, after the 8 pm aarti, the Samiti provides food to over 20,000 people, most of whom include poor children from the slums. The nearby locals have also allowed them to use the building space below to let senior citizens enjoy the meal in peace.
Where: Andheri, Mumbai
Famous for: Besides fulfilling people’s wishes, the pandal is known to replicate larger-than-life themes every year
The history: About 47 years ago, a few factory workers had moved from Lalbaug area of Mumbai to settle in the western area of Andheri, Mumbai next to their respective factories — the Golden Tobacco Company, Tata Special Steel and Excel Industries Ltd.
These people, missed visiting and celebrating the Ganesh festival in Lalbaug and hence started the Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samitee in 1966 with the festive aim in mind.
Over the years, it has replicated various themes in its pandal which include famous temples like the Akshardham, Somnath, Mangueshi and Saras Baug.
The idol this year: This year Andhericha Raja has replicated the Jain Dilwara temples of Mount Abu, Rajasthan. The idol has been designed by Raju Savla whose family has been entrusted the responsibility of making the Raja since three generations now.
Besides Savla, over 50 workers have contributed towards readying the pandal in two months.
The decoration has alone cost over Rs 30 lakhs, informed a committee member of the mandal.
Unlike the other Ganeshas that are immersed on Anant Chaturthi, this is the only Ganpati which is immersed on Sankashti, which falls five days after Anant Chaturthi.
Like the Lalbaugcha Raja, even Andhericha Raja is a wish fulfilling one, and is visited by over 10 lakh people every year.
The replica of Kailash and Mansarovar, the abode of Lord Shiva, on a 12,000 square feet area at hostel ground inBharuch is drawing huge crowd during the ongoing Ganesh festival since Wednesday. This concept is the brainchild of Nisarg Community Welfare Trust (NCWT) and a few other organizations.
One of the NCWT trustees Nareshbhai Thakkar said, “Only a few hundred are able to reach the abode of Lord Shiva at Kailash every year. Hence, we thought of creating a similar set here in Bharuch. We have created colourful mountains and also Mansarovar lake. Mount Kailash is shown under a cover of snow. The idol of Lord Ganesha has been placed between Gauri Kund and Om Mountain.”
He said that more than 40,000 people had visited the set in the first two days itself. The organizers expect over 2 lakh people to visit the site during the nine-day festival. For the cooling effect, 16 air-conditioners have been installed. The set has been kept open for all and there are no entry passes. The set has been made at a cost of Rs 25 lakh
If the popular Khairatabad Ganesha in Hyderabad stands at 58 ft, the 86-ft Dondaparthy Ganesha in the city towers over every other idol in the state. The Dondaparthy Ganesh, this time in Krishna avatar playing flute, isn’t going to give up the title of being the tallest idol any time soon, claim the organisers. Appal Raju of the organising committee said that it took them a month to prepare the gigantic idol. “Artistes from Kharagpur toiled hard to give finishing touches to the idol. It’s going to be the biggest crowd puller in the city, drawing 50,000-70,000 enthusiasts. We will also auction the Ganesha prasadam (108-kg laddu) for charity,” he said.
More than 2,000 big and small idols are being installed this time at various pandals with the organisers battling it out to come up with innovative ideas. Notable among them are the ‘bangle Vinayaka, ‘eega Vinayaka, spiderman and Krishna Vinayaka, Ganesha in train and another one playing chess and another a green Ganesha.
The gold and silver merchants’ association’s youth Vinayaka utsava committee set up a Ganesha made of one lakh colourful glass bangles near Kurupa market. Ranga Rao, chairman of the utsava committee, said that 25 artistes from Chirala prepared this special Ganesha in 10 days. “We got the bangles from Kolkata. It’s definitely going to be cynosure of all eyes this year,” he claimed.
Leaving no stone unturned to woo the 600-odd Maharashtrian families settled in the city, the Maharashtra Mandali has set up its own pandal. “We miss the festivities back home in Mumbai and Pune but we try to make up by having our own Vinayaka pandal. Gujarati and Bengali communities also participate in the celebrations,” said Mahadeo Rao Shinde, president of Maharashtra Mandali.
The Lower Parel railway workshop Ganesh idol is a burning example of how to put waste to best use. The six-foot-tall idol made entirely from dumped railway bogie parts stands proudly inside a temple made from scrap generated by the workshop. The Lord and His abode are so unique, it is hard to miss them even amid the hectic activity around.
“I created the idol around three years ago. All of us who work here pray to it every day. It is a symbol of our dedication to railways. It sends out the message that even scrap is given the form of God here,” said Santosh Gajakosh, a grade-I fitter who maintains old coaches, beats iron panels into shape and repairs equipment.
While the idol trunk is made of equalising stay rods, milk tank brass hangers make its ears and air suspension cylinders the body. The idol is repainted and decorated before every Ganesh and other festivals.
The heavy duty railway workshop at Mahalaxmi too is a proud possessor of two such Ganesh idols and an ‘iron man’.
“It takes 10-12 days to complete the work,” said Ganesh Laxman Ambekar, a grade-I welder who has made the two idols, one showing Ganpati playing a musical instrument.
The ‘iron man’ gifted by bogie assembling unit staff to Indian Railways on the 85th anniversary of electrification of WR, is symbolic of the core nature of the Mahalaxmi workshop that maintains local trains.
Ambekar and Gajakosh’s enthusiasm is shared by Rajan Bhagwat, a junior engineer in the mechanical department of the diesel locomotive shed in Pune. He also spends considerable time and effort in creating idols from scrap.
“In 2001, I made an idol of Lord Ganesh for installation in the bungalow of then Central Railway general manager. In 2003, I made another idol for then GM’s Peddar Road bungalow using scrap from diesel locomotives at the shed. I used the lid of a filter drum to make the face of the idol. I have also made idols of Balaji and Padmavathi from scrap. The satisfaction is immense,” said Bhagwat.
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.
This year, the Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal has recreated the famous shrine in Nepal to give devotees a truly spiritual experience
If you have always cherished the dream of visiting the famous Pashupatinath mandir in Nepal, you have a reason to smile this year — the shrine is being recreated at the famous Ganesh Galli Ganpati.
In the past, the mandal has successfully recreated various holy pilgrimage spots situated all around India. Pashupatinath mandir is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is regarded as one of the most holy sites for Hindus, situated in Kathmandu on the bank of the River Baghmati.
The temple dates back to 400 AD. “Our main aim behind recreating Pashupatinath mandir in Mumbai is because there are many Hindus who wish to visit the holy site in Nepal but don’t get a chance to do so. So we thought that we should come up with the concept of Pashupatinath mandir so that people feel that they have actually visited the mandir in Nepal,” said Sanjay Sawant, vice-president of the Ganesh Galli Mandal.
This year, the idol at the Ganesh Galli mandal is similar to the one that was installed in 1989, a creation of the well-known sculptor Dinanath Velinge, who first started sculpting massive Ganesh idols.
The same idol was remade by Velinge’s apprentice and now famous sculptor Vijay Khatu. The contract for designing the replica of Pashupatinath Temple was given to Biharilal Giri, owner of Maharaja Arts. Giri started work two months away from the festival and around 40-50 artisans and worked round the clock to turn the vision into a reality.
The organisers of the mandal are known for various charitable activities like blood donation. “It is a very proud moment for me, as I am going to make the same idol which was made by my guru Dinanath Vilenge in 1989 at Ganesh Galli and I am very thankful to the mandal for giving me this chance,” said Khatu.
First few images of our favorite Lalbaugcha Raja, sourced from various sources.