A total of 2,160 idols of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Gauri were immersed till Friday afternoon in various water bodies across Mumbai as the 10-day Ganpati festival, held this year without COVID-19 related restrictions after a gap of two years, drew to a close.
No untoward incident was reported during the immersion processions in the metropolis so far, civic officials said.
The festival dedicated to the elephant-headed god had begun on August 31. The idols of Lord Ganesh were installed in homes and public pandals across the state with pomp and gaiety this year as the coronavirus pandemic no longer cast its shadow on the celebrations. The pandemic-induced restrictions had curtailed the celebrations in the last two years.
The festival culminates on the day of Anant Chaturdashi, when the idols of Lord Ganesh are taken to nearby water bodies and immersed. Processions are taken out to bid adieu to the deity amid the chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Lavkar Ya’.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said around 2,160 Ganesh idols were immersed in various water bodies in the city till 3 pm. Of these, 2,104 were household Ganesh idols, 42 ‘sarvajanik’ (public) idols and 14 idols of Goddess Gauri.
Of the total, 634 idols were immersed in artificial lakes created across the city, it said.
As the immersion processions began in the morning with pomp, a large number of people gathered on the main roads in Mumbai to give a farewell to their beloved deity. Huge number of devotees thronged to catch a glimpse of the idol of ‘Lalbaug Cha Raja’ Ganesh in central Mumbai, which is the biggest draw of the festival here. This idol is immersed into the Arabian sea at Girgaon chowpatty (beach) in south Mumbai.
Other major sarvajanik Ganpati idols were also taken out of the pandals in Lalbaug, Girgaon, Parel, Andheri, Chembur and other areas for immersion. Apart from Girgaon chowpatty, the immersion of idols takes place at Shivaji Park, Bandra, Juhu and Malad on a large scale.
The police have deployed more than 20,000 personnel, including 3,200 officers, to keep a vigil during the immersion processions. Eight State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) companies, one Rapid Action Force (RAF) company, 750 home guards and 250 trainees. There is also a large posse of traffic police, an official said.
Traffic restrictions have been imposed on several roads in view of the processions, he said.
The BMC has put in place facilities for the immersion of idols at 73 natural and 162 artificial water bodies across the city. About 10,000 civic personnel, including officials, are on duty, it said.
The civic body has set up 188 control rooms in 24 civic wards for the Ganesh festival, it said, adding that 786 lifeguards have been deputed at the various immersion points. Also, 188 first aid centres have been set up and 83 ambulances kept ready at key locations.
The civic body has also arranged 45 motor boats and 39 German barges for the immersion of Ganesh idols, while 48 inspection towers have been erected and barricades have been put up at some places for safety reasons, the release said.
For improved visibility at immersion points, 3,069 flood lights and 71 searchlights have been installed and 211 reception rooms created for better coordination, it added.
In neighbouring Pune city, the immersion procession of Ganesh idols began in the morning amid heavy police deployment.
The procession of Kasba Ganesh, one of the five ‘manache’ (pre-eminent) Ganpatis, started around 10 am amid the beating of traditional dhol-tasha.
Adorned with flowers, the palanquin carrying the idol left the Kasba pandal, as devotees thronged to offer prayers and see their beloved deity off.
The processions of the other four manache Ganpatis – Tambdi Jogeshwari, Guruji Talim, Tulshibaug and Kesriwada mandals were also taken out with a lot of fanfare.
Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta had earlier said that CCTVs have been installed at several spots in the city to monitor, while many roads will have traffic restrictions and diversions.
“Nearly 3,000 registered Ganesh pandals will conduct immersions. They will be allowed to play music only till midnight. All guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court will have to be followed strictly,” Gupta had said.