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Ganesh Chaturthi: The Lalbaugcha Raja in PHOTOS

Last updated on: August 30, 2011 10:49 IST

Ganesh Chaturthi: The Lalbaugcha Raja in PHOTOS

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Located at Lalbaug market, Lalbaugcha Raja is one of the oldest sarvajanik (public) Ganesh festivals of Mumbai established in 1934.

During the pre-Independence era, the festival was used as a platform by the prominent leaders to generate opinion against the British empire.

Lalbaugcha Raja is truly a King in all respects and it pays to seek his audience.

A mere glance of the deity which is labeled as mukh darshantakes about two-and-a-half-hours wait in the queue during weekdays and eight to nine hours during weekends.

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Image: The Lalbaugcha Raja
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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Ganesh Chaturthi: The Lalbaugcha Raja in PHOTOS

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Lakhs of people turn up from far-off places, including foreigners, and stand for hours in queues running into several kilometres only to get a 'darshan' of the idol at Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal.

For the devotees who go seeking the fulfillment of their prayers to the Lord, it is more arduous path, as it takes about six hours during the weekdays particularly during the initial days.

During weekends and after the fifth day, the devotees wait for as much as 25-30 hours in the queue.

During lean periods the queue is 2.5 km to 3 km long while during peak time it stretches to 10 km.

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Ganesh Chaturthi: The Lalbaugcha Raja in PHOTOS

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Ideal time to get a darshan by having to spend minimum time in the queue would be to reach Lalbaug by 3.30 am in the morning.

On an average there are about 15 lakh people who queue up for darshan every day.

In 2010, about 2.5 crore people had turned up at Lalbaug making it an event management nightmare for the organisers and the police. With bigger crowds, comes bigger donations.

It takes several weeks to count the cash and make a itinerary of the donations made in kind such as gold and silver ornaments by unidentified devotees.

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The King Lord is secular with a huge fan following among members of the other community.

The immersion procession, which passes through Byculla and other Muslim dominated areas of South Mumbai, attracts crowds in overwhelming numbers.

Interestingly, the procession of the Lalbaugcha Raja halts in front of the Chisti Hindustani Masjid at Byculla.

"This is a tradition that was started to establish peace between the two communities. The procession is welcomed by Mohalla committee members and trustees of our mosque," said Imam Abdul Jabbar Azmi.

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