To Bola,” Ganapati Bappa Morya

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Its that time of the year again, when Lord Ganesha comes visiting his devotee. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated all over the country, indeed Lord Ganesh is one of the most loved gods in the Hindu mythology but it is in the cities of Mumbai and Pune where this festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. It’s this time when the streets of Mumbai are filled with lights, beats of dhol, tasha and enthusiasm. The whiff of freshly made modaks is all over and for 10 days, Mumbai celebrates like no other. Ganesh Utsav as the festival is popularly known starts on the fourth day of the Bhadrapad month and ends on the Anant Chaturdashi as per the Hindu calendar.

In Mumbai the present concept of celebrating this festival on a large scale involving the whole community was set by Bhausaheb Laxman Javale in 1892 however it was freedom fighter Shri Lokmanya Tilak who popularized it by setting up pandals at every street junction and since that year of 1893, the celebration of this festival has grown from strength to strength. As the festival comes round the corner and with a celebration in almost every street I thought it would be prudent to list down some of the iconic Ganesh Pandals of Mumbai which i used to visit during my time in the city . These are a ” Must Visit

Vakratunda Mahakaaya
Suryakoti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Mey Deva
Sarva Kaaryeshu Sarvada

“ Lalbaug Cha Raja “

“Lalbaugcha Raja” is Mumbai’s Most Popular Ganpati during Ganesh Chaturthi. During Ganesh festival, more devotees visit “Lalbaghcha Raja” than any other Ganesha in Mumbai city. One reason that “Lalbaugcha Raja” is so famous is because it is considered a wish fulfilling Ganesh (“Navsacha Ganpati”). The tall “Lalbaghcha Raja” Ganesh idol has been made by the Kambli family since 1935. The design of the Ganpati Murti remains more or less the same every, except for the ornaments, clothes and accessories. Lalbaug Cha  Raja” Ganesh utsav started in 1934 and is managed by “Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal”.

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Over 1.5 million people visit this Ganesh Pandal daily during the 10 days. The Navsachi line is for people who want to get their wishes fulfilled. In this line you get to go on the stage and touch the feet of Lalbaugcha Raja and take his blessings so that all your wishes get fulfilled. However, this line attracts huge public and it takes around 25 – 30 and sometimes up to 40 hours to get darshan in this line. There are 300-400 employees every year to organize the event.

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Shuklaambara Dharam Vishnum
Shashi Varnam Chatur Bhujam
Prasanna Vadanam Dhyaayet
Sarva Vighna Upashaanthaye

“Andheri Cha Raja “

Andheri Cha Raja popularly known as Navasala Pavnara Ganpati (wish fulfilling Ganesh) or Navasala Pavnara  Andheri cha Raja, organised  by the Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti.Andheri Cha Raja is next only to Lalbaug Cha Raja in belief and devotion. The  design of the 8.5 feet “Andhericha Raja” has remained unchanged since its inception in 1966. “Andhericha Raja” is the only major Ganpati that is immersed 5 days after the Visarjan of the other big Mumbai Ganpatis. So instead of on “Anant Chaturdashi”, Andhericha Raja’s Visarjan takes place on “Sankashti Chaturthi”. The 2015 Andheri cha Raja Ganesh Pandal was a replica of the Ambaji temple of Gujarat.

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Ganaanaam Twam Ganapathi Gam Havaamahe
Kavim Kaveenaam Upamasra Vastamam
Jyeshta Raajam Brahmanaam Brahmanaspatha
Aanashrunvanna Oothibhi Seedha Saadanam

“ Keshavji Naik Chawl Ganpati”

Religious nature and love and admiration for Bal Gangadhar Tilak made the residents of Keshavji Naik’s Chawl promptly respond to his call to observe Community festival of Lord Ganesh. Thus, the Ganesh festival at Keshav Naik Chawl began with the initiation of such festivals in Maharashtra in the year 1893 in a rather humble manner. Being more than 100 years old, the ganpati is one of the most prestigious in entire Mumbai. The Mandal makes eco-friendly shadu idols and follow peaceful measures during Visarjan. Blood donation camps are organized by the mandal and it also works for a institute for handicapped children called, ‘pratham’. Legacy : More than a hundred years old , celebrated centenary in 1992 . This is the oldest Ganesh Mandal in Mumbai

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Gajaananam Bhoota Ganaadhi Sevitam
Kapitta Jamboophaala Saara Bhakshitam
Umaasutam Shoka Vinaasha Kaaranam
Namaami Vighneswara Paada Pankajam

‘Mumbai Cha Raja ‘

Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal” manages the “Mumbai cha Raja”Ganesha. This year it’s in its 89th year. This tall and majestic Ganpati is one of the most famous idols in Mumbai. “Mumbai cha Raja” pandal is inspired by the locations in India, in 2015 it was placed in a wonderful Mandal which was inspired by Gujrat’s Bajrangbali Temple while in 2016 it was inspired by the Chota Char Dham “Badrinath ji “ .  Given the drought situation in Maharashtra’s Marathwada and Vidarbha region, the “Mumbai Cha Raja” Mandal had decided to give all donations received in 2015 to “NAAM Foundation”, which is run by Nana Patekar and Makrand Anasapure. This pandal was started at Ganesh Gali (Lalbagh), in 1928

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Mudakaratha Mothakam Sadaa vimukthi Sadhakam II
Kaladhara vadhamshakam Vilasi Loka Rakshakam II

“GSB Cha Ganapai “ , King’s Circle.

GSB Seva Mandal (King Circle) was founded in 1954 by Gowd Saraswat Brahmins from Karnataka. It is the richest idol, lovingly referred to as Mumbai’s Gold Ganesh and in 2016 had the insurance cover of over 300 crore with the idol adorned with 68  kg of gold and 315 kg of silver. In fact, priests arrive from Shirali, Kochi, Karnataka to augment the pujas that are done on behalf of the devotees. This idol is immersed on the 5th day. The idol celebration is strictly as per the tradition and the entire area resonates with a positive vibe.

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Om shree ganeshaaya namah || naarada uvaacha ||
pranamya shirasa devam | gauri putram vinaayakam ||

“Ladka Lambodar of Rangari Badak Chawl “

Rangari  Badak Chawl Rahevashi Sangh Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav. The Rangari Badak Ganpati Idol is made by sculptor Ram Sarang.The first Ladka Lambodar Ganesh idol at Rangari Badak Chawl was installed in 1938. This is its 76TH year. There were 16 chawls in the complex and it was a place belonging to workers from all fields and all religions. The genesis of this name is quite funny. Rangari is a Maharashtrian surname. Christians, Muslims and Jews that lived in Chawls No. 1 to 6 kept ducks as pets that loitered in the yards in the evening hence the name Badak (Duck).

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Agajaanana Padmaarkam
Gajaananam Aharnisham
Anekadantham Bhaktaanaam
Ekadantam Upaasmahey

Raja Tejukaya” is one of the three most famous Ganpatis from Lalbagh in Central Mumbai.

“Tejukaya Sarvajanik Ganeshostov Trust” is the Mandal that manages “Raja Tejukaya”. The idol look remains the same each year, only his posture is different and his look is symbolic to the warrior king …Tejukeya Ganaraj. The impressive 2015 “Raja Tejukaya” Ganesh Idol was  made by Rajan Zad. The 18 feet tall “Raja Tejukaya” Ganesh is dressed in battle armor and is standing next to an elephant. He looks right into you as u go in front of him, the Warrior King.

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Vakratunda Mahakaaya
Suryakoti Samaprabha
Nirvighnam Kuru Mey Deva
Sarva Kaaryeshu Sarvada

“Chinchpokli Cha Chintamani”

 One of Mumbai’s most famous and oldest Ganpatis. #“Chinchpokli Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal” has been organizing the “Chinchpokli Cha Chintamani” Ganesha since 1920. The 2016 “Chinchpokli Cha Chintamani” Ganesh Idol is made by Vijay Khatu. “Chintamani” is sitting on his throne playing the sitar. This was judged the best ganpati idol of Mumbai 2015

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Navamam Phaalachandram Cha
Dasamam Tu Vinaayakam
Ekaadasam Ganapatim
Dvaadasam Tu Gajaananam

GSB Seva Mandal “, Wadala

One of the richest of them all, this is a sight to see, the pujas and celebrations by GSB seva mandal are unparalleled anywhere else. The amount of gold on ganpati runs into several crores. Indeed the entire room glitters with its aura.It is not the largest of the Ganapatis but certainly one of the most artistically executed and “constant”. Even though the artisans craft a new murthy from clay each year , this murthy has not changed one bit over the last three decades.

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Lambodaram Panchamaam Cha
Shashtam Vikatameva Cha
Saptamam Vighnaraajendram 
Dhoomravarnam Tathaashtamam

“Parel Cha Raja “

 Parel was one of the original seven islands of Bombay, the land of erstwhile cotton mills of the 1960 era. Year after year “Parelcha Raja” (Nare Park) is among the top Ganesh idols in Mumbai. 2016 was no exception. The tall, 10-hand, “Parelcha Raja” Ganeshis standing with his foot on the head of the demon “Sindura”. Since  1947 “Parel Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshutsav Mandal” have been organizing “Parel Cha Raja” (Nare Park) Ganesh. Legacy: 58 years

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Prasanna Vinaayakam Devam, Perivana Pura Samsthitham
Sarva Vigna Haram Nithyam, Vandhe Sri Kunjaraananam”

“Girgaum Cha Raja “

Organised by Nikadwari Lane Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal.  Located in Girgaon, Girgaoncha Raja is among the tallest among all the idols of Lord Ganesha in the city. Girgaon Cha Raja is made with shadu clay, which is especially imported from West Bengal.  This is also the area in which Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in great style. The area is filled with crowds when the Ganesh Visarjan is carried out.

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Agajaanana Padmaarkam
Gajaananam Aharnisham
Anekadantham Bhaktaanaam
Ekadantam Upaasmahey

“Khetwadi’s Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal”

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Khetwadi area in Mumbai consists of several lanes that have their own Ganesh pandals, and each of them have very tall Ganpati idols. Out of all of them, Khetwadi Lane no.12 has one of the biggest, richest and most popular idols surrounded by colourful and beautiful paintings and lights. The award winning Khetwadi Ganraj is considered to be one of the most spectacular Ganesh idols in Mumbai. Amongst the top 5 pandals in the city , the Khetwadi Lane (Galli) 12 Ganpati is popularly known as “Khetwadicha Ganraj”.This year the Idol is made by the famous Ganesh Murti maker, Raju Shinde. For the last 7 years, “Khetwadi Cha Ganraj” has been winning awards for the best Ganesh Mandal and Idol.The pandal attracts up to 60,000 devotees every day. Legacy: In its 57th year

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Tatpurushaaya Vidmahe 
Vakratundaaya Dheemahe
Tanno Danthihi Prachodayaat

“ Colaba Cha Samrat “

Organised by Colaba Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Mandal, Colaba Cha Samrat , all imposing and vibrant holding sway in the southern tip of Mumbai with a legacy that extends well into its 60th year.

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Shuklaambara Dharam Vishnum
Shashi Varnam Chatur Bhujam
Prasanna Vadanam Dhyaayet
Sarva Vighna Upashaanthaye

“Fort Vibhag Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Circle”

The Fort Cha Ganesha Mandal is not the only one of the top Mandals in Mumbai but also one that has a long legacy attached to it. The inception of the Mandal dates back to the pre independence era. The Mandal has come a long way and is now stepping into its 64th year.

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Hope this article will give you pointers in what to see the next time you find yourself in Mumbai when Lord Ganesha comes visiting !!!

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