Ganesh Visarjan

The festival of Lord Ganesha - the lovable elephant-headed Indian God - Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated all over India, but Mumbaikars attach special importance to it and here the festivities are a feast to the eyes. This ten day long festival started on 17th September, and needless to say, the cosmopolitan and modern city of Mumbai has donned a traditional look and is more than willing to celebrate it with exuberance and unabashed enthusiasm.

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated every year on the 4th day of the Bhadrapada month according to the Hindu calendar, which either falls in late August or early September. The last day of this festival- Anant Chaturdasi- falls on the 27th of September.

If history textbooks are to be believed, such widespread festivities to celebrate the glory of Lord Ganesha were introduced by the famous Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja with the aim of promoting culture and tourism in the state of Maharashtra.

But, before independence, when Bal Gangadhar Tilak, more fondly known as Lokmanya Tilak, this festival became a part of the Swadeshi movement and was used as a platform to revive Indian culture and experience a spirit of oneness through it. So, all these festivities, colours and vibrancy associated with this festival can be rightly attributed to the founder of the Swadeshi and Boycott movement, Lokmanya Tilak.

The British have long gone, but the festivities remain intact. And why shouldn’t they? After all Ganesh Chaturthi is one big street festival, where people shed all inhibitions and dance to the rhythm of life. It is one great spiritual festival that runs in the veins of Maharashtra. Though the entire city of Mumbai looks like one grand pandal during the entire course of the festival, yet we have compiled five of the best places to celebrate Ganesh Visarjan in Mumbai:

The Lalbaugcha Raja 

The Lalbaugcha Raja or the king of Lalbaug is arguably the most famous Ganesh statue in Mumbai. This mandal, founded in 1934 is now amongst the most visited in the city and the Kambli family of the kambli arts have been designing this idol since 1935. Its legendary design is not protected under patent laws. This idol is kept in Lalbaug, a prominent locality in central Mumbai near Dadar and Parel. It is a pretty old area that boasts of several famous mills including the Kohinoor mill and the Finaly mill that flourished during the British era.

Icchapurti Ganesh Mandal

Icchapurti Ganesh Mandal near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus near Fort district is another pretty well known destination for devotees of Lord Ganesha. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a historic railway station in Mumbai, India, which serves as the headquarters of the Central Railways. It is located near the Fort district that was the heart of Mumbai during the 18th century and now is known for housing institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, Bombay Stock Exchange and Tata Group Headquarters.

Khetwadi Ganraj

Khetwadi Ganraj, one of the most spectacular idols in Mumbai, is situated in Khetwadi, Girgaon in southern Mumbai. This mandal was established in 1959 but rose to prominence in 2000 when it constructed the highest Ganesha idol (40 feet tall) in the history of India. Another time, it went one step ahead, and studded the idol with real diamonds.

The GSB Seva Ganesh Mandal

The GSB Seva Ganesh mandal is affectionately and quite literally known as Mumbai’s gold Ganesh. Yes, you heard it right. The idol is adorned with more than 60 kilograms of pure gold, making it one of a kind in the city. The mandal, often stated to be the richest in the city, was founded by the Gowd Saraswat Brahmin community from Karnataka in 1954. The idol for immersion is often an eco-friendly one, made out of clay. The mandal is special in the sense that no recorded music is played there. Instead, traditional Indian musical instruments used in south Indian temples are played. It is situated in Central Mumbai on G.S.B Sports Club Ground. This year, they are planning to do away with gold and silver ornaments, keeping in mind the drought stricken farmers of Maharashtra as a portion of the donations will go to them.

Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal

Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal is another place where you can get a glimpse of the pomp and festivities with which this festival is celebrated. This mandal is situated on the east side of Chinchpokli railway station on the Central Line.

Ganpati Bappa Moriya, Pudhchya varshi lavkar ya"
- Hail Lord Ganpati, come soon again next year
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