Category Archives: Sarvajanik Ganesh Installations

Mumbai’s richest Ganpati insured for over Rs 50 crore a day

GSB-Seva-MandalWadala’s GSB Seva Mandal has got itself insured for almost Rs 260 crore for the safety of the idol, gold ornaments and devotees from threats such as fire, terrorism and riots.

GSB Seva Mandal, the richest mandal in the city, has got an insurance of Rs 259 crore. Considering that the King’s Circle mandal keeps its idol for five days, that works out to Rs 51.7 crore a day, which is probably needed since the amount of gold on the idol itself is worth Rs 22 crore.

The insurance, done by a nationalised insurance company, is the highest for any mandal in the city, outdoing even the Lalbaugcha Raja, which is the city’s most popular and is insured for Rs 51 crore. GSB’s insurance covers the idol, gold, mandap and devotees from threats such as fire, terrorist attacks and even riots.

The insurance cover begins from the first day of the festival and does not end till the trustees lock up the idol’s gold ornaments safely into a bank’s lockers on the last day. The idol is decked in gold jewellery from the first day, right up to the immersion. Just before the immersion, the gold is taken off the idol and kept safely until the next year.

“We floated a tender and only nationalised insurers were allowed to participate. We do not bring in private players and don’t disclose the premium amount, but it is in lakhs. The insurance of the mandal is to the tune of Rs 258.9 crore,” said senior trustee Satish Nayak of the GSB mandal.

Fat premium
Going by the Rs 12 lakh premium that the Lalbaugcha Raja mandal paid for an insurance of Rs 51 crore, it can be assumed that the GSB mandal must have paid a premium of at least Rs 50 lakh.

A senior manager of an insurance company said, “The premium for the insurance of a mandal cannot be calculated like a normal policy. Normally, for a policy of Rs 2 crore, the premium goes up to Rs 2.5 lakh, but mandals function differently.

They are insured for fire, terrorist activities, a specific number of devotees and other such things. The premium for Rs 259 crore will easily be more than half a crore, but even this would be guess work.”


Ganesh Chaturthi Begins in Hyderabad with Gaiety

Ganesh_Hyderabad_AFP_360x270A festive spirit enveloped the city and other parts of Telangana as Ganesh Chaturthi began on Friday with religious fervour.

Hundreds of devotees performed ‘puja’ in Ganesh temples and to idols installed at specially decorated ‘pandals’ or makeshift platforms erected by various neighbourhood and traders’ associations.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and his wife performed ‘puja’ to the huge idol installed at Khairatabad near Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the governor.

A large number of devotees including VIPs made a beeline for worship at over 50-feet-long idol, the tallest in the city, at Khairatabad.

The governor said he prayed for the happiness and prosperity of people of both the Telugu states.

This is the first Ganesh Chaturthi after bifurcation of the state. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu offered puja at Telugu Desam Party (TDP) headquarters in Hyderabad. He wished for the well-being and development of people of both the states. TDP leaders from both the regions greeted Naidu.

According to Bhagyanagar Ganesh Utsav Samithi, over 50,000 idols have been installed in and around Hyderabad for the 11-day long festival this year. This is in addition to small idols installed in apartments and individual houses.

The idols of different sizes, shapes, colours and in myriad forms have been installed on streets in major markets and residential localities across twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

Hundreds of trucks and smaller vehicles were seen carrying the idols from Dhoolpet area to their destinations. The devotees were doing the last minute shopping for marigold flowers, leaves and other materials for puja.

The sweet shops and the supermarkets were also teeming with people, buying sweets and groceries for the festival.

Police have made massive security arrangements for the festival, especially in the communally sensitive old city. Over 15,000 policemen and paramilitary personnel have been deployed in the state capital.

The festival will conclude with a mammoth procession Sep 8 when thousand of idols will be immersed in Hussain Sagar Lake in the heart of the city.

The festival also began in other parts of Telangana with people installing idols at homes and on streets.

The festival is celebrated on a massive scale in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana but is a low-key affair in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.


Khairathabad Ganesha 2014


Ganpati idol, celebrations get bigger in Delhi

You know Delhi has officially adopted the tradition when what is arguably the biggest, grandest, Ganpati Puja in the city, is organized by a group which has just one bona fide Maharashtrian in it. The Raja Lalbagacha Ganpati Mahotsav?Delhi’s version of it?is being held on a grand scale. It covers 10,000 square feet of Netaji Subhash Place Ground; has an idol that’s 14 feet tall and set on a six-foot high stage; and, according to its organizers, was visited by over 10,000 worshippers on the first day. Festivities will continue till September 8.

“We wanted to welcome Ganpati in the north as well,” explains Rajesh Gupta, secretary of the trust and mela mantri. “And most of those visiting are Delhiites.” There are few Maharashtrians where the mahotsav is being organized, concedes Gupta?himself a Delhiite?but adds that the team has informed Marathi groups in other parts of the city?east and south in particular?and people are visiting.

There’s ?modak’?a sweet dumpling served as Prasad ?for everyone. There are cultural programmes every evening and Gupta promises the best of Delhi’s performers. Actors from the television series, Bharat Ka Veer Putra?Maharana Pratap, will visit. It’s hard to organize a do of this scale on the first attempt; most of the trust members are seasoned organizers of such religious festivals. Gupta himself is involved in organizing Ramlilas.

This is not the only non-Maharashtrian group to organize a Ganpati festival in the city. “Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the participation of non-Maharashtrians. Many small traders’ associations organize their own festivals,” observes Yashpal Mhaskar who is associated with a number of Ganpati festivals across the city and also runs a website that keeps track of the number of mandals?and Marathis?in Delhi.

There are ones organized by members of the community at Anandvan Society (Pashchim Vihar), Datta Vinayak Mandir (Janakpuri), Vitthal Mandir (RK Puram), Anand Vihar (organized by Purvanchanl Maharashtra Mandal), Naya Bazar and Karol Bagh. “There are about 50-60 Ganpati utsavs organized across the city,” says Mhaskar. There is a state-sponsored Ganpati Utsav that’s organized at Maharashtra Sadan on Copernicus Marg every year.


On Ganesh Chaturthi, Modi ‘magic’ goes larger-than-life

ganpati-main1In Vadodara, Ganesh puja is being celebrated with a difference. And the difference is Modi — literally!

Life-size idols of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, carrying baby Ganesh on his shoulders or in his lap, were some of most interesting-looking idols that people brought home this year.

Some of the city pandals were also seen cashing in on Modi’s charisma with similar idols, with organisers and individuals “congratulating” Modi for his “thumping victory from Vadodara” by making him this year’s theme.

Tea-vendor Kiran Mahida brought home a Ganesh idol that depicts Bal Ganesh playfully jumping on Modi’s shoulders. The life-size Modi idol is complete with a made-to-order cotton Kurta and saffron jacket, which was  Modi’s attire on April 9 when he filed his Lok Sabha nominations from Vadodara, for which Mahida was a proposer. “I will put up this idol in my house against a backdrop of pictures of Modiji hugging me — which adorn my walls till today,” Kiran said.

The Vishva Kunj Society Ganesh pandal has gone a step further. The pandal has an idol of Modi, carrying an idol of Lord Ganesha on a plank, with the animated layout of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation’s (VMC) Vishwamitri Riverfront Project. The group has recreated the river course, intersecting the city, to depict how the renovated Vishwamitri would appear once the VMC goes ahead with its plan

The organizers plan on showing a VMC presentation on a projection screen to the visitors to convey that the soon-to-be cleaned and restored Vishwamitri is Modi’s gift to Vadodara.

Kalpesh Naik, who is the Vishva Kunj Society president and an office-bearer of the BJP in the city ward, said, “We believe that Modiji’s plan to develop Vadodara must be showcased this year, so that people can see the gift he has given to this city. We had planned this theme much before the model code of conduct (MCC) came into effect. The dates for Ganesh Chaturthi were decided in advance all over the country. I do not think we are flouting any norms of the MCC since we have no political agenda. Our society is the most affected because Vishwamitri overflows during the monsoon, flooding our homes. We are setting up this pandal in our personal capacity and not on behalf of the party”


Mumbaicha Raja – Ganesh Galli 2013

Pictures of Mumbaicha Raja – Ganesh Galli 2013

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This Ganesha is a fruit of their labour of children of Hyderabad

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

dryruit ganeshaFor 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.


Diamond City welcomes diamond-studded Ganapati

SURAT: If you want to have darshan of Gujarat’s costliest idol of Lord Ganesha, then you have to be in the diamond hub of Mahidharpura in Surat.

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.”


Biggest and famous Ganpatis of Mumbai

Mumbaicha Raja

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.


Girgaoncha Raja

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.



Lalbaugcha Raja

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).



Khetwadicha Ganraj

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.



Bhandarkarcha Raja

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.



Andhericha Raja

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.





Kailash Mansarovar replica draws huge crowd at Bharuch, Gujarat

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


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