Last year I had just moved to Mumbai when the Ganesh festival was here. At that point of time I read in the newspaper that the biggest or at least most famous Ganesha showing was at Lal Baug. I was fortunate enough to manage to catch up with an American colleague of Indian background. She had a driver, who turned out to live around the corner of Lal Baug. And, eureka, we managed to get inside. Ohh, did I forgot to tell that mostly you have to queue for about 18 hours or more to get in there?
This year, I really hadn’t any hope of getting inside. But as there is a Norwegian couple who have just moved in next to where I live, I decided that we should at least give it a try and have a look outside the place. So yesterday I texted some of my Indian colleagues and asked if anyone would join. Luckily I have one who lives quite close to that place, and she agreed to join us (thanks a lot Priyanka)!
So we gave it a try, and voila, the magic worked even this year. I think that the people who host this event are quite happy to show it to foreigners, and I’m off course quite happy for that. And it also gave me an opportunity to write about it.
Lalbaugh Raja (The emperor of Lalbaug) was founded in the year of 1934 at its existing place. The Mandal was formed in the era when the freedom struggle was at its peak. Lokmanya Tilak introduced the idea of “Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav” for the awakening of people through this medium towards freedom struggle against the British Rule. Following the same, social issues were taken up along with religious duties, through this medium by the Mandal. During 1934 to 1947, series of speeches were arranged during this festival.
Today it is probably the most important place for Mumbaikars to go during the Ganesh festival. The idea of 18 hours in queue does not seem to scare them away at all.
At the picture you can see my Norwegian neighbor and my colleague’s brother.
Tomorrow the immersion of idols will probably start even in the Powai area. I will surely keep you posted about this.
Talk to you soon!