Ganesh Chaturthi 2016 is all set to begin on September 5th and most parts of India will be filled with a festive vigour for 11 days after that. While the festival is celebrated primarily in Maharashtra, Karnataka and parts of Madhya Pradesh, it is also celebrated in Nepal, UK, USA and Mauritius.
With Mumbai and Pune being the heart of the festivities, we bring to you the 5 most famous Ganpati pandals in Mumbai:
1. Lalbaugcha Raja
Arguably the most famous ganpti pandal, Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai is almost synonymous with Lalbaugcha Raja. This mandal was founded in 1934 and ever since, the same family has been making the ganesh idol. The biggest reason for its fame is the belief that that he grants all the wishes of his devotees, which also gets a lot of media attention. Lalbaugcha Raja sees almost 15 lakh people queueing everyday with two separate lines made for devotees. The general line allows for viewing (darshan) from a distance of 10 metres, while the Navas line takes the devotee right to the feet of the idol. It’s not uncommon to see lines stretching over 5 kilometre, with people waiting for more than 36 hours just to catch a glimpse of their favourite Raja.
Location: Lalbaug market, GD Ambedkar Road, Lalbaug (central Mumbai)
Closest Railway Stations: Lower Parel, Curry Road, and Chinchpolki
Waiting Time: 20 hours or more in the navas line. General line takes around five hours
When To Visit: Open for 24 hours during the 11 days festival period
2. Ganesh Galli Mumbaicha Raja
Next on our list of the most famous Ganpati Pandals in Mumbai is Ganesh Galli Mumbaicha Raja. This mandal gets its name from the lane in which the idol resides – Ganesh Galli, which is located just a few lanes away from Lalbaugcha Raja. It is the oldest pandal in the area and was founded in 1928 with the aim of rallying Indians in their fight for independence and is known to be one of the most artistic pandals in Mumbai with patriotic themes being adopted year after year. In 1977, the organisers created a 22 feet tall Ganpati, which heralded in the trend of creating large ganpatis.
Location: Ganesh Galli (Lane), Lalbaug (central Mumbai)
Closest Railway Stations: Chinchpokli, Curry Road and Lower Parel
Waiting Time: Ranging from as little as 20 minutes to over a few hours
When To Visit: Peak hours are in the afternoon and night from 3 pm to 2 am
2016 Theme: A replica of Badrinath temple
3. Khetwadi Ganraj
Khetwadicha Raja mandal was established in 1959 but shot to fame in 2000 when they built a 40 foot tall Ganpati, the tallest one in that year, just one of the reasons why it became such a famous ganpati pandal. This achievement was a result of an initiative that was started by the organizers way back in 1984, wherein they asked devotees to contribute just one rupee to building the tallest Ganpati. This Ganpati is almost always covered in real gold and diamonds which is what makes it a bigger attraction.
Location: 12th Lane, Khetwadi, Girgaon
Closest Railway Station: Charni Road and Sandhurst Road
When To Visit: Visit during the day, peak time is evening to night
4. GSB Seva Kings Circle
Gowd Saraswat Brahmin Seva Mandal is said to be the richest Ganesh Mandal in Mumbai and surely among the most famous Ganpati Pandals. GSB is a community from Karnataka who established this mandal in 1954 as a mark of love and respect for the prosperity they achieved in Mumbai. The idol is always eco-friendly, made of clay and the community believes in not playing loud music, hence you’ll be welcomed by traditional Indian south Indian music, that are usually played in temples. You’ll however be enamoured by the amount of gold the idol adorns, sometimes weighing over 60 kgs!
Location: G.S.B. Sports Club Ground, Near S.N.D.T. Women’s College, Kings Circle, Matunga
Closest Railway Station: Kings Circle (Harbour Line) and Matunga (Central Line)
When To Visit: The Ganesh idol is there only for 5 days, so visit early
5. Andhericha Raja
What Lalbaugcha Raja is to South Mumbai, Andhericha Raja is to the western suburbs. The mandal was founded by workers of Tata Special Steel in 1966 and is now run by the Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti. While they might not boast of the biggest or tallest idols in Mumbai, they have the distinction of creating some amazing themed sets. This idol is also frequented by scores of celebrities who live around that area. Such is the popularity of the idol that it often takes 20 hours for the idol to reach its immersion point which is just a few kilometres away.
Location: Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri West
Closest Railway Station: Andheri
When To Visit: This is the only idol in Mumbai that is immersed five days after Anant Chaturdashi (last day of the festival)
2016 Theme: Kunkeshwar Temple. The set includes 22 pillars, a huge oil lamp, the Nandi Bull and vignettes of Ashtavinayak and Vishnu’s 10 avatars
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