With just two days to do go left for Bappa’s arrival, the city is brimming with eagerness and joy. The pandals have been set up and several homes are preparing to welcome their beloved god. In the past month, we, at Pune 365, have shared stories about the city’s workings and the people’s excitement.
This year, Ganeshotsav will be celebrated in an eco-friendly manner as the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has requested citizens to use idols made from shadu or white clay instead of plaster of Paris (PoP). The civic body has also urged devotees to reuse idols instead of immersing them in a water body.
As always, the main attraction for Puneites this year will be the pandals set up by the five Manache Ganapati in the city. Every year, the pandals from these temples have a different theme and even cater to social causes through the worship of Bappa. Ardent devotees will also get to see various dholtasha pathaks playing during the day and night followed by street plays.
As final touches are put by skilled workers on the elaborate pandals across the city, the trustees of these pandals put in equal efforts to derive public benefit during the festival days. Various trustees associate a social cause to their pandal ranging from addressing social issues like female infanticide, women empowerment and protecting the environment to curbing noise pollution.
The festival is also a great time to see the city’s streets buzzing with people shopping for the necessary items needed for the prayers. These items include an asana or a velvet cloth to place the idol on, temple decorations, sandalwood incense sticks, fresh flowers, clothes and gold-plated jewellery to adorn the idol with.
Celebrating the arrival and the 10-day annual visit of Bappa brings with it the spirit of positivity and togetherness. In a city like Pune, which takes pride in its extravagant celebrations, Puneites come together as a community to make the city come alive. Be it the pandal builders or the traffic police workers taking extra precautions to ensure smooth festivities, everyone has a role to play. The excitement in the air is contagious and present even a month before the actual festival begins. As the days draw closer, people are seen completing last minute shopping in their efforts of welcoming Ganapati. Selecting the perfect Ganesh idol is a tedious task, as devotees are spoilt for choice with the number of makeshift shops set up offering varied idols.
This year will see Ganeshotsav being celebrated with bright colours and new vigour.