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PHOTOWALK : This is how Mumbai geared up for Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi 2018

Festivals have been a low-key affair this year due to the pandemic but I am sure we are reminiscing the good old times and wishing for good times ahead. Let us celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi but do not forget about social distancing. This is my experience of being in Mumbai two years ago and seeing the artists make the Ganesha idols. Also I attempted making Ganesha in Phad style. And it depicts what our new normal is like. 

Art showing Ganesh Chaturthi 2020
Happy Ganesh Chaturthi 

Which city strikes your mind when someone mentions Ganesh Chaturthi and the pompous celebrations? I am sure it is Mumbai and I think the city does it best with passion and in style. Lord Ganesha’s birthday is a propitious occasion and it happens to be one of the biggest spectacle in the city of Mumbai in Maharashtra. It is said that if you are in the city, you must catch up the celebrations at Lalbaugcha Raja at Lalbaug. 
Usually this time of the year is about our festivals. Once the Janamastami festivities wrap up, India gears up for Ganesh Chathurthi. Based on the movement of the moon, it is a ten day long Hindu festival and the last day, Anant Chaturdasi is a big day. This year has been different because of the pandemic but let us reminisce the old days…


I am in Mumbai and I am thrilled to be the part of the excitement called – Ganesh Chaturthi. The clay models of Lord Ganesha have already been created, painted and decked up. The process of taking them home and installing them at public places have already begun. The preparations had begun 2-3 months in advance. Make-shift sheds and workshops had cropped up in my neighborhood and one evening, I couldn’t stop myself from walking into one. 

Mumbai festivals
Celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi Mumbai way

I had heard a lot about the making of these idols and I was really keen to see it all myself. How could I miss the opportunity this year? Last week, while returning from a friend’s place, I stopped at LBS road and checked out some of these temporary sheds around Ghatkopar. One of them was really huge and showed signs of people working inside. It was covered from all sides except a small door which was showing some glimpses of idols under bright lights. I walked in and asked if I could talk to them and take pictures. First, they were reluctant but when I told them that I lived in Delhi and all this was new for me, they welcomed me warmly. 

Also Read-Art Walks in Mumbai

Life-like clay models of Lord Ganesha

As I walked in, I found myself in the world of clay idols, colors, paint brushes and artists. I was surrounded by nearly 500 life-like idols of Lord Ganesha in all shapes and sizes. Some of them were extremely huge and loomed over me. Some were colourful while others were still in soil color. The bigger ones, which were complete had been packed in transparent sheets to prevent them from getting dirty from dust and grime. Some were still being painted. Five artists were inside the shop and were working at that wee hour. A brief interaction with the artisans made me learn that most of them had been involved in this activity for decades. The younger ones had mastered this art from their elders in the family. The face, the smile, the alive eyes, the trunk, the body, the curves, the plates of the dhoti of the Lord, everything had been carved to perfection in each of the structure. It was definitely a result of precision and practice. It was no child’s play and was evident that the handcrafting skills had been passed from one generation to another. 

I wanted to know more but since every one was busy in their work and I was left awestruck by this lovely idols, I silently walked around the shop, clicked some pictures and returned back home. I felt extremely happy to have celebrated the festival in my unique way. These are the best pictures that I have brought back from my trip to Mumbai. All of these idols were made from clay but I am not sure if only eco-friendly material was used in the making. Honestly, I forgot to ask the artists. 

Ganesh Chathurthi

The main attraction or the most important practice associated with the festival is the placement and visarjan (immersion) of life-like clay models of Lord Ganesha, who is considered the God of beginnings. During the festival colorful pandals are created and Ganesha is worshiped. People also install Ganesha idol in their homes for certain number of days and invite people for prayers and celebrations.  They also plan the immersion of the idols. The bigger pandals have activities and entertainment programs planned for ten days. On the final day, a huge procession bids goodbye to the Lord in a grand way till the idol is drowned in the nearest water body.  It is believed that he takes away all the woes of the living beings until next year. Devotees walk long distances and join the processions on the streets. Despite the traffic snarls, dancing and singing takes place on the go. It is a celebration to watch for on the Mumbai streets.

Photo-walk inside the makeshift workshop on the LBS road

Making of Ganesha Idols
Ganesha was created by Shiva and Parvati on the request of the Gods 
Ganesha, Biggest festival of India
One of the most anticipated festivals of the year is just round the corner.
Making of Ganesha Idols
It is a labor-intensive process of creating and decorating the idols.
Ganpati Bappa Morya
“Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Purchya Varshi Laukariya” (O father Ganesha, come again early next year)
Ganesha idols in Gahtkopar
I was keen to see the making of the clay idols and I am glad I walked into a nearby workshop in Ghatkopar.
Ganesha Idols
There were Ganesha idols of all shapes and sizes.
I had a conversation with the artist and he told me that he has been making Ganesha Idols since 25 years
Ganesh Chaturthi is a ten-day Hindu festival
Ganesha idols in clay
It is believed that Ganesha takes away the misfortunes of everyone.

 How are you celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi 2020? Do share what are you missing?

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi 2020

Read about Siddhivinayak Temple!

3 thoughts on “PHOTOWALK : This is how Mumbai geared up for Ganesh Chaturthi

  1. Well…your passion for the city is evident from your article. The scenario and excitement is very similar to what we Kolkatan feel for Durga Puja’s. It’s almost a six months affair with a mammoth preparation that goes at the backdrop.

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