Photographs and Video by Sanket Wankhede.
Here’s wishing all our readers a very Happy Ganesh Chaturthi – Team Pune365
Amidst the thumping beats of several dhol sand an enthusiastic crowd, Krupa Bhavsar and her family stand on a quiet corner to catch a glimpse of the Shreemant Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Mandal. “We have been coming here from Mumbai since the past three years so that we can devour on the sight of the idol and enjoy the drumming of the dhol tasha groups. We want to see the Dagdusheth idol first and then we will visit the Lalbaugcha Raja,” says Bhavsar.
As the 10-day Ganeshotsav starts today, Puneites have gathered around the Peth areas to visit their beloved Bappa at several mandals including those of the Manache Ganapati like Kasba Ganapati, Tambdi Jogeshwari, Guruji Talim, Tulshibaug and Kesariwada. Under the bright sun, the prayers of sthapana continue as devotees, from all over the city, stand in an infinite-looking queue to seek the blessings of Ganapati.
The streets are lined with several young men and women, playing their dhols with a distinct look of enjoyment on their faces. “I can’t even express how I’m feeling today. The energy is unstoppable. We have been practising since two months for around six hours daily,” exclaims Satish Bodhe, who was handling the dhol tasha group heading towards the Dagadusheth Mandal. Apart from this, devotees can be seen buying colourful flowers like red roses, purple tulips and bright orange marigolds, banana leaves, fruits, and coconuts to offer at the mandals.
Sunil Chavan, a police officer on guard, watches the crowd carefully but also takes time out to enjoy the first day of the festival. “Thankfully, for the first day everything is going peacefully. All the arrangements have been made in case anything goes wrong. As Puneites, we are also thrilled to watch the performances, but we also have to stay alert,” he adds.
Pune stands at the forefront when it comes to celebrating Ganeshotsav with responsibility. This year, more than ever, numerous mandals and households have chosen eco-friendly idols made from shadu or white clay. This dissoves much easily in water and doesn’t cause pollution. All the five Manache Ganapati mandals are immersing their idols in an artificial water tank in order to not pollute water bodies and preserve the marine ecoysystem.
Meanwhile as the sthapana prayers concluded, the mandals opened for the public to visit.
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