INDIA: On Friday, the final day of the 10-day Ganesh festival, a sea of people gathered in South Mumbai’s Girgaum Chowpatty to bid farewell to Lord Ganesh, the Hindu god with an elephant-headed head. Devotees danced to the beat of drums.
People in large numbers participated in the Ganesh visarjan (immersion of idols) on ‘Anant Chaturdashi’ and bid farewell to the god, chanting ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya’ (Come early next year and bless us). The atmosphere was filled with a liberal sprinkling of Gulal (red colour powder).
In Maharashtra, including Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, and Jalgaon, large processions were organised for idol immersion. The devotees danced to the rhythm of Dhol-Tasha and sprinkled petals on the Ganesh idols (drums).
In Mumbai, besides Girgaum Chowpatty, the immersion took place at Dadar Chowpatty, Juhu Beach, Versova, Marve Beach, Gorai Beach, and other immersion sites. Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis joined the celebrations at Girgaum Chowpatty.
Most of the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandals (public groups) had begun their immersion processions in the morning, which took several hours to reach the sea fronts. The Mandals included the ‘Ganesh Gally‘ (the 95-year-old Mandal at Lalbaug), the ‘Chinchpokli Cha Chintamani‘ (the 103-year-old Mandal at Chinchpokli), and the famed ‘Lalbaugcha Raja‘.
The children of ‘Sham Nirmal Mitra Mandal’, Malad in North Mumbai, immersed their dear little ‘Swiss Waffle Ganpati’ in the Marve seafront in North Mumbai. However, heavy rains slowed down the Ganapati Visarjan processions in the city. The authorities had made an elaborate arrangement for immersion.
Over 28000 Ganesh idols were immersed, while many idols were waiting for immersion in Mumbai till Friday midnight. They included 2896 idols of Ganesh Mandals, 25,795 household idols, and 255 idols of Gauri (Goddess Parvati). Among the 608 Ganesh Mandal idols, 8337 household idols and 84 Gauri idols were immersed in artificial ponds.
In Pune, the immersion took place at Saswad, Ganapati Visarjan Ghat, Deccan College Road, Balewadi, and other places. The Ganesh idols of ‘Kasba Peth Ganesh’, ‘Tambdi Jogeshwari’, ‘Guruji Talim’, ‘Tulshibaug’ and ‘Kesariwada Ganesh Mandals’ were immersed first, as per the tradition, followed by the idols of other mandals, including ‘Bhau Rangari Ganesh Mandal’, ‘Dagdu Sheth Halwai’, ‘Jilbya Maruti’ and ‘Akhil Mandal’.
While NCP MLA Rohit Pawar joined the procession of ‘Guruji Talim’ and played the Dhol, normally the political foes—Minister Chandrakant Patil (BJP) and MLA Aditya Thackeray (Shiv Sena)—joined the immersion procession of ‘Kasba Peth Ganesh’. Some of the Mandals also presented ‘mallakhamb’ and other martial arts during the immersion procession.
Thousands gathered at Ramkund on the Godavari river and 71 other immersion sites in Nashik. The main procession began from the Chowk Mandal area of old Nashik city, led by the Nashik Municipal Corporation Ganesh idol. The procession started in presence of Minister Girish Mahajan with the sound of drums and clocks. Over 288 Ganesh Mandals immersed their idols in addition to household Ganesh idols.
In Nagpur, the idols were immersed in 387 artificial ponds and other lakes, including Phutala lake, Kalmana lake, Sakkardara lake, and Sakkardara lake. The famed ‘Nagpurcha Raja’ idol was immersed in Koradi lake. The immersion procession, which began at Tulshibaug in the morning, reached the immersion site in the afternoon.
In Akola, MLAs Govardhan Sharma and Ranjit Patil joined the ‘Barabhai Ganesh’ immersion procession. The Ganeshotsav was celebrated on a large scale for the first time after two years in Akola.
In Aurangabad, Union Minister Bhagwat Karad, Shiv Sena leader Chandrakant Khaire, Minister Atul Save, Mayor Nandkumar Ghodele, and others joined the immersion procession of ‘Sansthan Ganesh’.
In neighbouring Goa, the immersion took place at the Zuari river with religious fervour, with thousands of devotees bidding adieu to Lord Ganesh. Goa has a tradition of celebrating the festival jointly by some of the families, where devotees throng to see the floats depicting mythological themes presented by various groups of joint families.
The people, in large numbers, participated in the immersion processions across the country, including Karnataka, Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
While Anant Chaturdashi was widely celebrated, there were a couple of unfortunate incidents in Maharashtra. In Panvel, near Mumbai, 11 people were injured due to electric current while immersing the idols. In Wardha, 3 people from Mandwa village drowned while immersing the idols in a barrage. In Dhule, one person from Anandkheda village drowned while immersing the idol.
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