MUMBAI: Tuesday’s upcoming festival of Anant Chaturdashi will be like no other in living memory. Ganpati mandals are preparing for a quiet visarjan ceremony of their idols within the pandal precincts instead of heading to Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu or Versova sea front.
Swapnil Parab, secretary of Lalbaug’s Ganesh Gully Mandal said, “We have arranged an artificial tank in the neighbourhood where we will immerse our small idol. Local families will also utilise this tank for household visarjan.” Khetwadi mandals have also constructed similar tanks for their own midget idols and for others in the vicinity.
Sahyadri Krida Mandal of Tilak Nagar will perform immersion in a metal tank on site, said spokesman Jaya Shetty. “A few of us from the Vikhroli Cha Raja mandal will transport our moorti to Powai lake, taking care to follow all the rules,” said mandal chief Arun Mayekar.
Senior inspector Suryakant Banger of DB Marg police station expects only a minor fraction of devotees to turn up at Girgaum Chowpatty Tuesday. “People are obeying the rules. Most of them are opting for artificial ponds or tanks. Even the few who do come to Chowpatty are not performing visarjan themselves, but leaving the moorti on a table for BMC workers to immerse,” he said.
On Sunday, reversing the trend of the past 50 years, members of Lalbaug’s Shroff Building Pushpavrushti Mandal, which showers flowers upon passing Ganpatis during the Anant Chaturdashi visarjan yatra, visited pandals from Parel to Byculla and offered flower garlands and a coconut to each idol. “We did not wish to break our 50-year-old tradition so we approached the idols since they will not pass below our chawl this year,” said an organiser.
For the first time in years, the beach cleaning drives that unfold on Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu Beach and Versova the day after Anant Chaturdashi will either not take place or will be minimal.
Shaina NC of the I Love Mumbai Foundation, who engages an army of young volunteers, said, “I doubt we will head out as it is too risky for our volunteers, all of whom are students.” However, Chinu Kwatra who helms the NGO Beach Warriors will do so at Dadar-Prabhadevi with a small group, to commemorate three years of his clean up effort.