Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the grandest festivals celebrated in Maharashtra. Every locality, neighbourhood and apartment society organises a Pandal (tented stage) to welcome, worship and celebrate the deity. People begin raising funds from residents, Mandals (community associations) and patrons months in advance. They place the utmost importance on the height, colour, form and seating of the Ganesh Murti (idol). The making of Murti has evolved over the decades, from theme-based festivities and gold and diamond decorations to eco-friendly idols made using biodegradable materials in recent years.

Sometimes, sculptors also make Ganpati idols based on trends in that particular year, such as cricket Ganesha during the World Cup season. Lalbaugcha Raja, Mumbai’s renowned Ganpati Pandal, created a space-themed pandal to mark the landing of Chandrayaan 2 on the moon.

Here are a few famous Ganpati Pandals in the state:

Lalbaugcha Raja, Mumbai

This was founded in 1934 when fishermen and vendors prayed to Lord Ganesha vowing to build a permanent marketplace. The Kambli family members, the original creators of the idol, have been sculpting Ganpati idols since 1920. They began making the idol for this mandal in 1935. What makes this ‘Raja’ unique is that he is slim unlike the usual well-rounded depiction of the deity. Lalbaugcha Raja is literally a role model for other idol makers who are quick to copy the design, so much so that people demanded exact replicas for their homes and Mandals. Kambli Arts now has a patent to make idols in the traditional mould.

Mumbaicha Raja, Mumbai

Mumbaicha Raja Pandal in Ganesh Galli is situated close to the Lalbaughcha Raja Pandal. This mandal was formed in 1928 to protect the interests of mill workers in the area. What makes this distinctive is that it comes up with remarkably innovative themes every year, often recreating a famous landmark in India.

Gold Ganesh, Mumbai

Gold Ganesh, as the name suggests, is decorated with at least 50kg of pure gold. Located in GSB Seva Kings Circle, this is said to be the city’s richest Ganpati mandal. The committee prefers making eco-friendly idols using clay. It prefers to play only traditional Indian music as opposed to the usual trending numbers.

Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, Pune

This beautiful temple was built in 1893 by an affluent sweet-seller called Dagdusheth Halwai and his wife Lakshmi Bai. The temple trust takes a special interest in decorating the deity during Ganeshotsav. A reputed jewellery brand has been associated with the temple trust for many years. For the 125th year celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi, the jewellers worked for about five months, engaging 40 craftsmen and 60000 hours to craft seven different crowns and other ornaments with gold, emeralds, rubies and white diamonds in traditional Filigree and Nakashi works.

They made a diamond-studded gold crown weighing a whopping 9.5kg, emerald studded ears, necklaces and an embellished Prabhavali among others.



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