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Millions bid adieu to Lord Ganesha
September 10, 2003 00:42 IST
Millions of devotees bid a fond adieu to Lord Ganesha on Tuesday amid chants asking the lord to come back early next year.
After his 10-day sojourn on earth, the lord's idols, in various shapes and sizes, were immersed under the vigil of police personnel and the fervour of devotees.
Slide Show: A Warm Farewell to Lord Ganesha
Watching all the festivities with an eagle eyes were over 20,000 policemen and women.
Teams of the State Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force, Beat Marshals, Homeguards and National Cadet Corps assisted the police in the smooth movement of processions throughout the main immersion routes, including S V Road, Ranade Road, Kennedy Bridge and Marine Drive.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde immersed the Ganesha idol installed at his official residence Varsha at a waterfront located in the precincts of Raj Bhavan.
Minister of State for Home Kripashankar Singh took an aerial view of the processions while his counterpart Rajendra Darda surveyed the arrangements from ground level.
Prominent among those who visited Girgaum Chowpatty were Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, city mayor Mahadeo Deole and Sheriff Kiran Shantaram.
A special watchtower was set up at Girgaum to monitor the surging crowds.
Lifeguards were also pressed into service at various points to keep an eye on inebriated devotees and on those venturing far into the waters. Nearly 18 routes were reserved for the processions, while 24 others were transformed into one-way traffic zones.
Trawlers, rescue boats were kept ready to face any emergencies. Volunteers also ensured a steady supply of drinking water and first aid for devotees, thronging the place.
Some of the volunteers also offered to help out families separated from their dear ones in the procession.
While early afternoon saw small statues installed in households making it to the waterfront, late evening saw the huge idols of nearly 3500 sarvajanik mandals moving towards the waterfronts.
The streets were also lined with scores of onlookers, who eagerly waited to spot some of the well-known deities of popular mandals including the Lalbaug Ganesha, the Ganesha from Girgaum and the Ganesha from Chembur area.
The eye-catching deities included Ganesha holding the Veena, Ganesha wearing the saffron turban reflecting the Mee Mumbaikar campaign, Ganesha in the form of Vishnu and Krishna and a Ganesha flexing his muscles as a body builder.
In Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra, the procession to bid farewell to Ganapati Bappa started in the morning amid tight police security with city Mayor Dipti Chowdhury garlanding the Tilak statue in Mandai and the 'Gramdaivat' Kasba Ganapati near Mahatma Phule market.
The first Ganapati to lead the procession was 'Sri Kasba Ganapati' followed by 'Tambdi Jogeshwari', 'Guruji Talim', 'Tulshibaug' and 'Kesari Maratha', the five together known as 'Manache Ganapati'.
It was in Pune that Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak gave life to the concept of sarvajanik (community) Ganeshotsav.
About four million people witnessed the immersion. In the backdrop of bomb blasts in Mumbai, recovery of bombs in Solapur and the stampede at Kumbh Mela, the police imposed a total ban on bursting of firecrackers.
The entire Laxmi Road, the main passage for the procession, was beautifully decorated with 'rangoli'. About three tons of rangoli, one ton of gulal and nearly 300 kgs of colours were used to decorate the road. The traffic police had closed 14 arterial roads for traffic in the city area.
In Nashik, devotees chanted 'Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachy Varshi Lavakar Ya' and sprinkled gulal as the Ganesha immersion processions in the city and in the powerloom town of Malegaon began at 1400 hours.
City Mayor Dashrath Patil, NMC Corporators, City Police Commissioner P T Lohar and local prominent citizens were present at Wakadi-Barav locality from where the main procession began.
Nearly 250 idols along with decorated vehicles, tractors, participated in the procession.
Devotees immersed several idols in Gharpure-ghat, Someshwar, Ramghat and Anandvalli.
In Nagpur, immersion of Ganesha idol was held peacefully at five city lakes. Over 800 idols from public organisations was taken out for immersion with great enthusiasm.
Nearly 3,000 policemen along with personnel from the SRPF and homeguards were deployed for ensuring security at the immersion sites.
In Hyderabad, hundreds of Ganesha idols were immersed in the Hussainsagar lake.
Of the 3000 Ganesha idols of various sizes immersed in various lakes in the city, 2200 were immersed in Hussainsagar lake, Additional Police Commissioner A K Khan said.
The immersion procession was peaceful with no untoward incident reported, he said.
A total of 8000 Ganesha idols were immersed in the city, he said.
The main immersion procession passed off peacefully in the evening from historic Charminar in sensitive old city, he added.
In Delhi, however, the festivities were marred slightly when a 20-year-old youth drowned.
Gopal (20) and Montu, residents of Mehrauli, fell into the water during the immersion ceremony in Kalindi Kunj, the police said.
While alert bystanders saved Montu, strong currents washed away Gopal, they said.
In Vadodara, communal clashes broke out when a Ganesha immersion procession came under attack and two groups clashed leaving at least three persons, including a policeman, injured.
More reports from Maharashtra
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