Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mumbai cha Raja

The Elephant God takes over the state of Maharashtra and its capital during these 10 days of the Ganpati festival. Ganpati festival in this state is a combination of the festivities of Deepavali, Pongal, Navarathri, Aadi masam, Thai poosam, Akshaya triti etc etc in Tamilnadu. Most Maharashtrians in Mumbai take off for 10 days to visit their deity in their native village and celebrate the festival with their loved ones . Wherever you go, you can hear someone or the other talking about "Keeping Ganpati at home". Similar to our Golu tradition, the Maharashtrians keep Pillayar idol and offer poojai for a couple of days before the Visarjan. It is a season of discount offers, sale at major stores... like the Aadi season in our land. The city wears a festive look for these 10 days and every street, mini street, road, lane, by-lane has a Ganpati mandal with a pretty looking Pillayar idol.

Here are two pictures of our society Ganpati mandal.. Every mandal performs aarti twice a day and offers prasadam for all visitors.

The fun aspects of the festival:

1) Mumbai is at its festive best... there are Ganpati mandals all over the city, well lit, well adorned. It is a treat to watch the well decorated mandals and the effort that goes into it.

2) Visiting Mandals with a variety of themes can be great fun. There are Pillayars made of coconuts, chocolates, groundnuts which attract huge crowds.

3) One gets a day off on the day of Visarjan. You spend the day sleeping at home because all main roads lead to the sea where Visarjan happens are blocked, so there is nothing much that one can do. For maha vettis, there is a live telecast of the Visarjan on the local cable channel that one can watch from noon to midnight.

4)For the advertising gang, the festive season starts with Ganpati and goes on till Christmas time. Since advertisers tend to spend a lot more during these three months for Ganpati, Dussera, Deepavali and Christmas, the ad gang gets to do a lot of work and the smart freelancers [unlike me] tend to make a lot of money.

The moan parts:

1)Adding to the traffic woes are the traffic diversion posts all over the city. On a normal 'Mumbai' day, if it takes you 2 hours to cover a distance of 30 kilometres by road, these 10 days you will probably have to add another half hour of sulking in the car.

2) You will probably have an L R Eswari screaming out of a loudspeaker at only the temples of Madras but in Mumbai almost all building societies compete with one another to be their loudest best. You will probably hear the ever popular "Devaho deva ganpathi deva" and the Gayatri Mantra on repeat-u mode in the mornings and suddenly Mr.DJ - usually called Vicky takes over in the evening to play "Ohhhh..aashiq banayaaaaa.." or "Beedi Jalaileeee" with jing-chak beats.

3) Idols made of Plaster of Paris are a lot more popular than the clay ones. Despite repeated appeals from environmentalists, these idols only add to the environmental pollution mess.

The Lalbaug Cha Raja - a huge Pillayar mandal at the Lalbaug area in Parel attracts huge crowds owing to His wish fulfilling power. This deity is the most popular pillayar in Mumbai.Every year He gets tons of diamond, gold and ofcourse cash offerings at the mandal. These offerings are utilised for numerous social activities. hmm.. He even has his own personal tailor. Get Lalbaug Cha Raja's blessings here.

3 Responses:

Karthik Sriram said...

good one - I have seen marathis here in USA to be pretty attached to ganpati, though their other activities in life dont reflect their pious side....

Ganpathy Bappa morya!


Anonymous said...

Felt like i vijited mumbai. good coverage.

//Every mandal performs aarti twice a day and offers prasadam for all visitors.
adhaane! prasadham vaanga thaane naama ellam kovil pakkam othunguvoom. :p

//Ganpathy Bappa morya!//
ithuku enna meaning? pls yaaravathu sollungo! sounds like
"saroojjja saamaaan nikkaalo!"

timepass said...

Ur post brought back lovely memories of visiting Lalbagcha Raja..