The immersion processions of the idols of Ganesh’s prominent constituents in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra began this morning in the midst of fanfare. The devotees clashed in great numbers to bid farewell to the idols of the elephant-headed god.
Among the beginners immersion in the city were Ganesh Galli Mandal and Raja Lalbaughcha who attracted hundreds of thousands of devotees during the Ganesh festival, which began on August 25 and ends today ‘Anant Chaturdashi’. Several devotees have performed the Koli dance, a traditional fisherman dance, the Lalbaughcha Raja Pandal in central Mumbai before the start of the ‘Visarjan’ (immersion) procession.
In Solapur, the devotees took the idols of Ganesh and immersed them in the lake Siddheshwar. The immersion marks the end of the Ganesh festival, popularized by Bal Gangadhar Tilak to bring people together to create a sense of patriotism and fight against the British Raj. More than 7,600 idols of Ganesh settled in public places and more than one lakh idols in homes will be immersed today, police said.
Small idols will be immersed first, followed by great ones like Lalbaugcha Raja, who plunges into the Arabian Sea to the Girgaum Chowpatty in the south of Mumbai. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the police, the Coast Guard and the Navy have made elaborate arrangements to ensure a safe immersion of idols. Preferred sites for the dive are Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu Beach, Powai Lake, Dadar Chowpatty, Madh Jetty and Marve to Malad.
The BMC has asked devotees to inform civil authorities when they need help or if they are stung by jellies or stingrays. Police have strengthened security and state reserve police companies are also deployed. Cranes, surveillance towers, remote control aircraft, security cameras and floodlights were set up to monitor all the movements of partygoers and devotees, a police official said.