Artist’s flight of fancy

| | Mumbai
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Artist’s flight of fancy

Tuesday, 19 September 2023 | TN RAGHUNATHA | Mumbai

Artist’s flight of fancy

As Mumbaikars prepared themselves in a big way to celebrate 10-day-long Ganesh festival from Tuesday, the spotlight turned onto Mumbai’s Khetwadi cha Raja, a Ganpati idol installed by Sarvajanik Shree Ganeshotsav Mandal, at Khambata Lane in south Mumbai, theme of which this year is Chandrayan-3’s recent landing on the Moon.

Chandrayan-3 is one of the major themes adopted by the Ganesh Mandals across Mumbai this year.

A majestic 38-feet Khetwadi cha Raja, themed around Chandrayaan-3, will be unveiled on Tuesday morning, as the 10-day festivities get off to an enthusiastic start in Mumbai and various other parts of Maharashtra.

“This year, we have chosen Chandrayan-3 as the theme to express gratitude to ISRO scientists for their tremendous work in space technology in general and the recent landing of the spacecraft on the moon in particular. They are the pride of the nation. We would like to celebrate them this year,” president of Sarvajanik Shree Ganeshotsav Mandal told The Pioneer on Monday evening.

The tall Ganesh idol, made of Plaster Of Paris (PoP), has been crafted by  noted idol maker Kunal Patil, while the lavish pandal has been decorated by Kamlesh Rajapuri.

“We intend to narrate the successful landing of  Chandrayaan-3 through decorations featuring ISRO, the Lunar Rover, the Moon, and all the planets of our solar system. We are presenting the decorations in 3D  form with fluorescent theme colours. It will be a new experience for the devotees this year,” Narkar said.

Every year, the Ganesh Mandals adopt contemporary themes for their Ganpati festival decorations. This year, the Ganpati mandals have chosen Chandrayaan-3 launch to Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir as their theme.

The 350th coronation of the Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is another major theme adopted for Mumbai’s most-revered Lalbaugcha Raja (King of Lalbaug), a Ganesh idol installed at Lalbaug in south-central Mumbai.

This year, Lalbaugcha Raja is seated on a throne decorated similar to that of  Shivaji Maharaj.

The coronation theme revolving around Raigad Fort was the last of the pandals designed by noted art director Nitin Desai, who committed suicide at his ND Studios at Karjat in Raigad district.

Another crowd-drawing Ganesh pandal is the one set by the GSB Seva Mandal’s Ganapati at Sion in north-central Mumbai.

This year, GSB Seva Mandal’s idol has been decorated with ornaments worth over 60 kgs of gold and 336 kgs of silver.

A special feature of this GSB Mandal this year will be that it will perform special “havans” on Tuesday and Wednesday for the successful Chandrayaan-3 landing and for the construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya.

The other Ganesh mandals which will draw huge crowds will be idols set up by Tejukaya Mandal, Lalbaug, GSB Sarvajanik Ganeshutsav Samiti, Wadala, Kethwadi, 11thLane, Kethwadi, 12th Lane, Sahyadri Mandal, Tilak Nagar-Chembur, Shri Bal Gopal Ganesh Utsav Mandal, Marine Lines, Fort VibhagSarvajanik Ganeshutsav Mandal, Fort, Andheri-cha-Raja or the Azad Nagar Sarvajanik Utsav Samitee at Andheri.

Like every year, Mumbai will reverberate to the beating of drums, cymbals, chants of “Ganpati Bappa Morya” and “Sukh-karta Dukh-harta” bhajan, as Mumbaikars take to their homes more than 3 lakh small and medium-sized Ganpati idols to their homes, while Sarvajanik Mandals install 12,000-odd huge idols across the city.

Besides, awareness of water conservation would be at the centre of Ganesh festivities in Maharashtra’s Latur district.

In view of this, a water literacy campaign will be held during the Ganesh festivities that start on Tuesday and more than 1,350 Ganpati mandals will be contacted, MLA Sambhaji Patil Nilangekar told reporters.

A motorcycle rally from Nilanga to Latur city and other events have been planned to create awareness among people so that they know the importance of water preservation.

The campaign is part of the “Jal Saksharta Abhiyan”, a citizen’s initiative, and is not political, he said.

The district has received less than 50 per cent of the annual average rainfall this year and the local residents  have to make do with only 40-50 litres of water per person per day against the normal quota of more than 100 litres, he said.

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