Thousands of devotees throng the street to bid farewell to Lord Ganesh

Thousands of devotees throng the street to bid farewell to Lord Ganesh

Written By: / Monday, 20 September 2021 17:25

By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, Sept 20: 

Amid Covid restrictions, thousands of devotees took to the street to bid farewell to Lord Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god, on the concluding day of the 10 days long Ganesh festival across the country on Sunday.
Given the appeal by Maharashtra Government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), most of the devotees immersed their idols in artificial ponds near their homes and there were limited crowds at sea-fronts in Mumbai.
Over 2000 publicly installed Ganesh idols by social groups (Sarvajanik Mandals) and over 17,000 household idols were immersed on Sunday. Of these nearly 710 Sarvajanik idols and over 7000 domestic idols were immersed at artificial immersion sites. The BMC had prepared 73 natural and 173 artificial immersion sites. The BMC had also deployed around 25,000 concerned staff-employees to serve the people of Mumbai.
The BMC had put a cap of 10 people to be allowed to enter the designated immersion venues. Besides, social distancing and wearing a face mask were made an essential requirement. Some of the revellers were seen wearing masks and following social distancing norms. However, most of them were seen violating Covid’s appropriate behaviour.
Many Sarvajanik Mandals had arranged online “Darshan” of Lord Ganesh since the authorities had restricted the number of visitors visiting pandals to five at a time. 
As expected, scores of people gathered at the immersion of Mumbai’s famed ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ (in its 88 th year) amid heavy police presence at Girgaum Chowpatty in South Mumbai. A large number of people had gathered also for the immersion of the “Mumbaicha Raja” and the volunteers had organized a huge procession despite the ban on processions. Eventually, the police stopped the band and asked the volunteers to disperse.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray immersed the idol in an artificial pond at his official residence at Varsha in South Mumbai, accompanied by his son Aditya Thackeray.
The Mumbai police had deployed 1500 constables, 100 police officers, and over 500 home guards to ensure that the immersion process is smooth. While by and large, the immersion process was peaceful, five boys who had gone for immersion, were drowned at Patil Galli No 2 at Versova in Andheri in northwest Mumbai. Of them, two boys were rescued by Life Guards, and the hunt to trace missing boys was on.
Maharashtra
In other parts of Maharashtra too, the people enthusiastically joined the immersion. However, at one or two places, the police had to intervene due to a violation of regulations. Despite the height of the Ganesh idols in public places restricted to 4 feet by the Maharashtra Government, in Kolhapur the “Shivaji Tarun Mitra Mandal” had installed a 21 feet tall idol. This led to heated arguments between the police and the volunteers of the Mandal. 
In Pune like last year, this year too, the Dagdusheth Halwai Mandal’s (in 129 th year) Ganesh idol was immersed in the temple complex. Similarly, the Kasba Peth Ganesh and the Kesariwada Ganesh idols were also immersed in an artificial pond. However, in the case of the Tulshibaug Ganesh, the police had to intervene and stop the musical instruments being played in a procession, which was organized despite the ban on processions.
Elsewhere in the state, the artificial ponds were in demand. However the people also preferred to immerse the idols also in nearby rivers. In Nashik many idols were immersed in the Godavari river, in Jalgaon they were immersed in the Girna river and in Nagpur, the idols, including “Nagpurcha Raja”, were immersed in the Koradi river. The idols were immersed also in Phutala and other lakes in Nagpur.
Telangana
A large number of people reached Hyderabad for immersion of the tallest “Khairatabad Ganesh”. Over 20,000 police personnel were deployed to ensure smooth immersion. 
Goa/ Karnataka
In neighbouring Goa and Karnataka, the festivity was at low ebb given the anticipated third wave of Covid. In Bangalore in Karnataka, maximum idols were immersed in Yadiyur Lake and Halasuru Lake followed by Sanki Tank.

About the Author

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar

Raju Vernekar is a Media Professional based in Mumbai and is a regular contributor of Imphal Times. He had served as Chief Reporter at Free Press Journal (1996 – 2015 ). His Activities includes writing for different news papers, script writing/production for TV channels, Films Division. Writing poems in Marathi, Hindi, English, Guiding mass media students and helping people to solve their problems. Raju may be contacted at [email protected]

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