|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Ganesh festival begins with traditional fervour
August 31, 2003 18:48 IST
Last Updated: August 31, 2003 10:22 IST
Lord Ganesh on Sunday began his annual visit to Earth with Maharashtrians giving the elephant-headed god a noisy welcome amidst elaborate security arrangement in view of the recent bomb blasts in Mumbai.
Around 30,000 policemen were deployed all over Mumbai to maintain law and order. They are being assisted by the Rapid Action Force, State Reserve Police Force, National Cadet Corps and Home Guards.
There are about 800 Ganapati mandals in Mumbai this year. For the first time, organizers have called employed volunteers and private security guards to help the police maintain law and order.
As a part of the security exercise, police has resorted to combing operations at five points in Mumbai with random checks of bags of commuters in buses, cars and taxis (cabs).
On Saturday, police had issued orders curtailing the use of firecrackers during the festival.
Chanting Ganpati Bapa Morya and with the traditional aarti, they ushered the elephant-headed God into their homes and community-organised events.
In Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra and birth place of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsavs (community-sponsored celebrations), residents welcomed the elephant-headed god with traditional fervour and gaiety.
The Ganeshotsav has special significance for Pune as it was from here that the concept of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav was launched by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak to mobilise masses against the British regime and inculcate the spirit of patriotism.
At Kesariwada, Dr Deepak Tilak, the great grandson of the revolutionary leader, performed the aarti to propitiate the benign deity, the destroyer of evil and harbinger of luck and prosperity.
In Solapur, intermittent showers failed to dampen people's spirit while welcoming the benign deity on his sojourn on earth. Idols of Lord Ganesh were brought in processions at more than 1,200 sarvajanik mandals, which have planned a variety of programmes for the next 10 days.
Nashik also saw traditional fervour at the beginning of the festival despite the recent tragedy at the Kumbh Mela. There are approximately 300 sarvajanik Ganesh mandals in the city.
Security has been beefed up in view of third and final shahi snan (royal bath) slated for Monday, as part of the Mela.
Police have put up barricades at important points to control the movement of pilgrims, who are expected in large numbers for the shahi snan.
In Nagpur, which has approximately 800 sarvajanik Ganesh mandals, elaborate security arrangements have been made to prevent any untoward incident during the 10-day festival.
More reports from Maharashtra
Read about: Telgi case | Mumbai blasts