From commoners, celebrities to CM, Maharashtra marks the festive season with joy and happiness
Devotees fervently welcomed Lord Ganesh into their homes and pooja pandals on Wednesday, marking the start of the ten-day festival being celebrated after two years without COVID-19 restrictions.
Excitement reigned with shouts of “Ganpati Bappa Morya” as urban and rural people and well-known personalities including Bollywood celebrities greeted Lord Ganesh and offered “Modaks”, a traditional Maharashtrian delicacy, as “Prasad”.
Supporters thronged prominent Ganesh pandals like the Lalbaugcha Raja in south-central Mumbai in large numbers, queuing for several hours.
Actor Kartik Aryan was one of the film personalities to visit Lalbaghcha Raja on the first day of the festival.
Many large Ganpati mandalas had brought the idols well before the start of the festival. Many pandals designed decorations based on various themes with a social message.
Devotees also flocked to the famous Siddhivinayak Temple at Prabhadevi in central Mumbai. In Pune, known as the cultural capital of Maharashtra, traditional dhol-tasha (drum) troupes accompanied the processions, which began around 10:00 am.
After a grand procession, the ‘pranpratishtha’ (consecration) of Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, one of the most prominent Ganesh of the city, was performed in the pandal designed as a replica of the Panch Kedar temple.
The processions of the five “Manache” Ganpati – the Ganesh idols that take precedence in the final day’s diving procession – namely Kasba, Tambdi Jogeshwari, Guruji Talim, Tulshibaug and Kesariwada – were also performed with much fanfare.
Also in the coastal region of Konkan, Lord Ganesh was received with much enthusiasm and happiness. Tens of thousands of Mumbaikars who hail from Konkan travel to their villages for the festival each year.
Celebrations have remained muted for the past two years due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions that banned large gatherings.
Among the political leaders, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Eknath Shinde welcomed Lord Ganesh to Varsha, his official residence in south Mumbai.
Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis consecrated the idol of Lord Ganesh at his official residence “Sagar” in Mumbai. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray welcomed the Lord to Shivtirth, his new residence in Dadar, central Mumbai.
Shinde performed the puja of Ganesh idol with his wife Lata, son and Lok Sabha MP Shrikant Shinde and grandson Rudransh. In a statement, the Prime Minister’s Secretariat said Shinde seeks blessings from Lord Ganesh for the happiness and contentment of the people of the state.
Later, the Shinde family also welcomed Ganesh to their private home in Thane.
Fadnavis told reporters he was glad the festival was being celebrated in Mumbai and across the state with the usual fervor it was in the days leading up to the pandemic.
The leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Ajit Pawar, extended greetings to the people on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi.
Raj Thackeray was seen clicking on a photo on his phone of his son Amit, daughter-in-law and grandson and praying to Lord Ganesh. Congress leader and former Prime Minister Ashok Chavan prayed to the Lord at his residence.
Many Bollywood and TV personalities celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi with much fervor, some bring Ganesh idols to their homes while others visit Ganpati pandals.
As every year, Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and her husband Raj Kundra welcomed Lord Ganesh to their residence in Juhu with great enthusiasm. She released a boomerang video of her together with her husband and two children – son Viaan and daughter Samisha.
Superstar Salman Khan’s sister, Arpita Sharma, also received the deity at her home in the Bandra suburb. Bollywood biggie Shah Rukh Khan shared on Instagram how he and his younger son AbRam welcomed Lord Ganpati into their home.
“Ganpatiji was welcomed home by Lil One and I…the modaks afterwards were delicious…the learning is that through hard work, perseverance and faith in God you can live your dreams.” Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to everyone,” he wrote.
Actor Neil Nitin Mukesh, son of veteran singer Nitin Mukesh, has posted a happy family photo on his social media profile. “Festival Ready #ganpati #2022,” the actor wrote on Instagram alongside a series of photos of his family.
Other celebrities bringing Bappa home include actors Jeetendra Kapoor, Sonali Bendre, Isha Koppikar and comedians Bharti Singh and Krushna Abhishek.
Public celebration of the festival in Maharashtra dates back to the 1890s when Nationalist leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak and others decided to use it to mobilize the masses.
Devotees thronged vegetable and flower markets, candy shops and street stalls to buy flowers, puja materials, sweets and decorative items. To ensure the festival runs smoothly, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set up 188 control rooms in 24 municipal districts across the city. At least 10,000 civilian employees, including officers, have been placed on alert.
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