The preparations to have a grand celebration for Ganesh Chaturthi this year have begun in full swing. Pune 365 went on a trail to the Peth areas, hopping from one shop to the other, to find out what different businesses are planning to do to welcome their beloved Bappa into the city.
The first stop was at Kasba Ganapati Mandir, the Gram Devta or the Presiding Deity who leads the procession in the visarjan or immersion procession. This year, the temple will be celebrating its 124th year in the festivities. The pandal at the temple has not been set up but the trustees have planned on making it more environmentally-friendly. They are working with the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to spread the message of saving water during this year’s celebrations.
Celebrated with pomp and gaiety, most of the enthusiasm circles around decorating the Ganesh idol. Puneites go to great lengths to make sure their elephant-headed guest looks majestic and grand. For this, there are special jewellery shops that create gold-plated accessories to adorn the idols. Chandresh Adesara, salesperson at Swarg Jewellers tells us, “People prefer gold-plated jewellery for Lord Ganesha compared to pure gold. As it is for temporary use and the chance of getting stolen is less.” A walk around the Peth areas that house the famous Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple and Kasba Ganapati are lined with jewellery shops that showcase accessories ranging from the mukut to necklaces, specially designed for our modak-loving Ganesha.
Devout Ganapati devotees are already seen flocking to Dagdusheth. Kavita Kadam who has been coming to the temple for the past eight years has this to say: “I come here every Tuesday but during the Ganesh festival you will see me here every day.” Pune, which is known to be the cultural capital of the state, is a city that takes great pride in its celebrations for Ganesh Chaturthi attracting people from other cities as well. Sakhi Sahu, a student from Nagpur explains, “Since the time I came to Pune to study, I always end up going back home for Ganesh Chaturthi but this time I am excited to celebrate it in Pune. Moreover, because of how much I have heard about the celebrations here.”
The security team in Pune will be seen beefing up soon to make the festival a happy and safe one. But making this year’s celebrations safer has backfired on some businesses like Munda Lal’s. He runs a shop that sells fireworks and crackers. “Earlier, there was great business because everyone would buy crackers. Now, since it has been banned, nobody purchases it,” he says.
Elsewhere though it’s business as usual. And like every year, they are waiting for Bappa’s arrival.