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Bappa is back!

A Draft Correspondent | Mumbai 

Like every year, the beginning of the festival season in India, particularly Mumbai, was marked by arrival of huge Ganpati idols on Sunday and Monday ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi. The Ganpati festival or Ganeshutsav commences on Ganesh Chaturthi on September 13 2018 and is one of the longest Hindu festivals celebrated over a period of 11 days. The fervour is particularly high in Mumbai and Pune where grand processions carry 20-feet to 30-feet tall Ganpati idols amongst a swarm of singing devotees and dancing revellers.

Even though the traffic police were in place to direct traffic and ease out the congestion caused by the processions, several locations across Mumbai witnessed traffic jams. The 2,200 officially-registered Ganpati mandals had to obtain permissions from the traffic, fire and police departments. To make it easy for the pandals, the BMC encourages mandals to apply through its online system to seek permission for roadside pandals. The process, however, has received mixed response and partial success with very few mandals applying online.

On September 3, Mumbaikars witnessed the grand processions where larger-than-life Ganpati idols were carried to beautifully-decorated pandals. The arrival of Ganpati saw the local residents thronging the roadside and eagerly awaiting a glimpse of their favourite Bappa. At many places, even inquisitive commoners stopped to watch and take photographs of the mesmerising view of iconic Ganpati idols, each donning a specific theme decided by the respective pandal. Some even joined the devotees dancing on traditional drum beats accompanied by an orchestra. At several locations, foreign tourists could also be seen dodging the traffic to take photographs and videos to capture the magic of Ganeshutsav or Ganpati as the locals like to call it.

Lord Ganesha is believed to be the remover of obstacles. The publicly-organised Ganpati festival in Mumbai traverses boundaries of modern-day society of caste, economic status, community and region. People from all walks of life come together to celebrate the arrival of their one and only Ganesha and the only way to believe the magic is to experience it.

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