INDIA. Mumbai: Thousands of devotees across the country thronged sea fronts, artificial ponds and other immersion sites to bid farewell with dance, music, and prayers on “Ananth Chaturdashi” to Lord Ganesha, as the 10-day-long Ganesh festival concluded on Thursday.
The people gathered on the streets on procession routes of Ganesh idols to bid farewell to the deity with heartfelt prayers and witness the vibrant processions, even as chants of “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya” (come soon next year Lord), rent the air.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had deployed 1,337 lifeguards, including 1,035 at 69 natural water bodies and 302 at around 200 artificial ponds, and arranged 53 motorboats at natural water bodies. The Mumbai Police had deployed over 18,000 personnel, including 16,250 constables and 2,866 officers, to maintain law and order.
Over 8,000 idols, including 7,513 household ones, 329 “sarvajanik” ( public idols) were immersed by Thursday evening, while many more idols awaited immersion at Girgaum Chowpatty and Versova at Andheri in North West Mumbai. Till the 7th day of the festival immersion (September 25), as many as 1,65,964 idols were immersed in various water bodies, including artificial ponds.
The people enthusiastically participated in immersion ceremonies in Thane, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Washim, Akola, Jalgon, Raigad, Ratnagiri and other districts. Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the Girgaon Chowpatty for Ganesh visarjan.
Due to heavy rainfall, most of the Mandals began the processions early. In Mumbai, the procession of idols of Tejukaya and Ganesh Gully mandals started early in the day. The procession of the famous Lalbaugcha Raja idol, which attracts a maximum number of devotees, started at around 11.30 am. The flowers were sprinkled on the idol at a number of places on an immersion route.
In Pune, the Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganesh Mandal immersed its idol at Panchaleshwar ghat at about 8:50 pm. This year’s immersion took place more than 14 hours earlier. The five Manache Ganpati- Shri Kasba Ganpati Mandal, Tambdi Jogeshwari Mandal, Guruji Talim Mandal, Tulshibaug Mandal and Kesri Wada Mandal, were in the given order.
The immersion also took place in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. In Delhi, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari and Congress MP Mukul Wasnik joined the prayers at Maharashtra Sadan.
“Ananth Chaturdashi”, the final day of the festival, holds special significance as it is believed to mark Lord Ganesha’s return to his heavenly abode.
There had been untoward incidents of devotees drowning while participating in the immersion; a teen drowned at Juhu in Mumbai, while two persons drowned in Waldevi dam in Nashik. Similarly, 04 persons drowned in the Ulhas River in Karjat taluka of Raigad district in Maharashtra. At Pacheri in Ratnagiri, 15 people were injured when a driver lost control and rammed into the immersion procession.