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Kanika Nevatia Jul 17 2014

Travel Guide To Celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi In Mumbai

Debangana Sen Jul 17 2014
3 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

About Ganesh Chaturthi

The Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Mumbai are in full swing. Dedicated to Lord Ganesh, the elephant god, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi (Vinayaka Chaturthi) is an important religious festival in India. It is especially celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Telangana and Gujarat. Of these, the celebrations in Maharashtra are the most elaborate.

This 10-day festival begins with the installation of elaborately-crafted Ganesha idols in homes and pandals, followed by numerous religious rituals. Modak (rice flour dumplings stuffed with jaggery and coconut) is believed to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite food and hence has a special importance in this festival. Public celebrations are very common with almost every locality in every district of Maharashtra competing with each other for the largest idol and the best pandal. The concluding ritual and the most eventful aspect of this festival is Ganpati Visarjan, where the idol is taken on a grand procession to a large water body for immersion.

Best Celebrations in Mumbai

There is simply no way you can miss a Ganesh Chaturthi celebration in Mumbai. Every street and locality will have its own private celebration. However, these are the best and the most famous pandal in Mumbai

Lalbaugcha Raja

Founded in 1934, this is the most visited pandal and is definitely one of the places to visit in Mumbai during the festival. It draws 1.5 million people each day, so be prepared to stand in long queues that can snake as far as 5 km! The legendary design of the Ganapati idol is now patented.

Location: Lalbaug market, GD Ambedkar Road, Lalbaug (Central Mumbai)
How to reach: It is walking distance from Curry Road, Lower Parel and Chinchpokli stations.

Photo of Lalbaugcha Raja (by Karthikndr)

Ganesh Galli Mumbaicha Raja

Just a couple of lanes away from Lalbaugcha Raja, this pandal is famous for its lavish themes each year. This is a slightly better option if you want to avoid the long queues.

Location: Ganesh Galli Lane, Lalbaug (Central Mumbai)
How to reach: It is walking distance from Curry Road, Lower Parel and Chinchpokli stations.

Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Seva Ganesh

Affectionately known as the Gold Ganesh, this is the richest pandal in Mumbai. The idol is adorned with more than 60 kg of gold! Also, made entirely of clay, it is eco-friendly as well. Inside the pandal, instead of the usual recorded songs, you’d hear traditional instrumental music often heard in south Indian temples.

Location: G.S.B. Sports Club Ground, Near S.N.D.T. Women's College, R.A. Kidwai Road, King's Circle, Matunga
How to reach: Get down at Kings Circle if coming from the Harbour Line. For those taking the Central line, get down at Matunga.

Photo of GSB Ganesh (by Hesvjti4)

Andhericha Raja

Though not as imposing and spectacular as the other idols, Andhericha Raja is known for granting wishes. The pandal also boasts of a novel theme each year. It is the most famous Ganapati in the Mumbai suburbs.

Location: Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri
How to reach: Nearest Railway station is at Andheri

Khetwadi Ganraj

This is one of the most spectacular Ganapati, decked in real gold and diamond ornaments. This particular pandal holds the record for building the highest Ganapati idol that was more than 12 m high. Moreover, there is a Ganesh idol in almost every lane of this area, so there’s plenty to see here.

Location:12th Lane Kehetwadi, Girgaum
How to reach: Charni Road and Sandhurst Road are the nearest stations.

Other places worth visiting are the Fort Vibhag Ganesh Utsav Mandal located opposite GPO and Icchapurti Ganesh Mandal near CST in the Fort district, Akhil Anjeerwadi Mandal located at Dr. Mascarenhas Road in Mazgaon and Kamatchawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal located opposite Zaoba Ram Mandir in Thakurdwar (one of the oldest temples in Mumbai). Though not in proper Mumbai, the Titwala Ganpati is another revered shrine dedicated to the elephant-headed god.

Making of the Ganesh Idols

There are a number of workshops in the Chinchpokli, Parel and Lalbaug area that specialize in this craft. The workshops of Vijay Khatu in Parel and Ratnakar Kambli near Chinchpokli Bridge are especially famous. Breakaway organizes guided walks in Lalbaug where you will be taken into workshops to see the idols being made as well as get a glimpse of the usual pre-festival preparations taking place in every home and pandal. A day trip to Pen (2 hour drive from Mumbai), where the majority of the city’s Ganesh idols are crafted, is highly recommended.

Ganapati Visarjan

This grand culmination of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi should be experienced to be believed. Majority of the grand idols are immersed on the Anant Chaturdashi, i.e, the 11th day after Ganesh Chaturthi. However, the idols kept in homes can be immersed on the 2nd, 5th, 7th day as well.

Photo of Ganpati Visarjan in Mumbai (by AroundTheGlobe)

On Anant Chaturdashi, the atmosphere is loud and frenzied. As the idols are loaded onto trucks, people dance wildly on the streets to the raucous music played by bands and colour each other with vermillion. There are crackers, drumbeats, explosions and hordes of crowds everywhere. The procession follows a pre-decided route upto the immersion point. All the main idols in Mumbai are immersed in the Girgaum Chowpatty in Marine Drive. If you wish to avoid the crowds come here during the mornings to watch the smaller idols being immersed.

Photo of Ganesh Visarjan at Girgaum Chowpatty (by Chris)

The traffic police gives a detailed visarjan route maps of the main pandals. So make sure you study it to avoid getting stuck in traffic. The Grand Mumbai Tours offers a special Ganapati VisarjanTour during this time.

Best stay options during Ganesh Chaturthi

A boutique luxury hotel with one of Mumbai’s best restaurants, Intercontinental Marine Drive is located minutes away from the immersion site.

The Marine Plaza Hotel also located on Marine Drive boasts of a rooftop glass bottom pool, Geoffrey’s English Pub and the Bayview 24 hour cafe.

Krishna Palace Residency is a cheaper option, located less than a kilometer away from Girgaon Chowpatty. This is also very close to the Khetwadi Ganapati. So you can easily pay a visit here and all the other nearby pandals, and join the procession as well.

Not far from the Krishna Palace residency lies Hotel Grant--a great budget option at an excellent spot for following the grand processions to the Girgaum Chowpatty.

Photo of a procession with numerous idol from different pandals (by thejasp)

Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai is synonymous with huge decked-up idols, loud community celebrations with lots of music and dancing. We hope this travel guide proves to be useful for all of you who plan to visit Mumbai this September for Ganeshotsav.

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