Ganesh Chaturthi – Mumbai’s biggest festival has recently begun. The ten day festival which is also known as Ganeshotsav and Vinayak Chaturthi sees Mumbaikars welcome their favourite Lord Ganesha amidst much fanfare, celebrations and enthusiasm.
During the festival, people pray to Lord Ganesha who is also known as Vignaharta (Remover Of Obstacles) and seek his blessings to bless them with a peaceful and prosperous life.
The festival also sees people offer food by way of prasad (religious offering to God) including the famous Modak to the Ganpati idols which is then distributed among the people and members of the community.
The festival which was started by famed freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak to unite the people against the then oppressive regime of the British government around the year 1892 gained immense popularity in the later decades and became Mumbai’s most popular festival that sees people indulge in large scale public processions and celebrations.
The festival ends Ganesha idols that are immersed in sea during the ritual of Visarjan (Immersion). The Ganpati idols which are traditionally made from Plaster Of Paris have raised several ecological concerns in recent times owing to the pollution and other health hazards the usage of this material has created. Owing to this, several pandals have resorted to using other unique and eco-friendly means to design Ganpati idols.
And in recent times, more and more pandals are adopting an eco friendly approach to celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi.
Most of the eco-friendly Ganpati installations involve the use of clay which is a more expensive but a far safer alternative compared to Plaster Of Paris.
Here’s our list of 5 Eco-friendly Ganeshas you must visit this year in Mumbai.
- GSB Seva Mandal – Matunga
Founded in 1951 by the Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Community that hails originally from Karnataka, the GSB Seva Mandal is one of Mumbai’s oldest and popular Ganpati Pandals. The Ganpati installation which sees lakhs of devotees and people visit the pandal to seek blessings of Lord Ganesha has an idol that is made out of clay and is eco-friendly in nature.
- Keshavji Naik Chawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal – Girgaum
The Keshavji Naik Chawl Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal bears the distinction of being Mumbai’s first and oldest Ganpati pandal. And despite Mumbai having some extremely famous and popular pandals like Lalbaugcha Raja, this mandal has its own unique and special place in the history of Mumbai.
The pandal is situated as the Keshavji Naik Chawl in Girgaum which also bears the distinction of being Mumbai’s oldest chawl (a type of residential buildings that are found mainly in Mumbai). The pandal which was stared in 1893 is also believed to host Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak – the famed freedom fighter and the man who played a pivotal role in popularizing Ganesh Chaturthi as a public festival.
Besides this, the mandal also bears the distinction of hosting one of Mumbai’s biggest Ganpati installations which is over 25 feet long and is created out of clay keeping in the mind the eco-friendly concerns concerning the festival.
- Om Shanti Mitra Mandal – Mira Road
The Om Shanti Mitra Mandal (OSMM) is a part of residential complex that goes by the same name and is located in Mira Road. Till last year, the OSMM which has a Ganpati pandal every year used to have Ganpati idols that were made of Plaster of Paris. However this year, owing to the environmental concerns raised due to Plaster Of Paris, the mandal has decided to have an eco-friendly Ganpati installation at their pandal this year.
Interestingly, the idol has been made by the members of the mandal themselves which has been made out of clay even though the cost for making a clay installation vis-a-vis Plaster Of Paris is higher.
- Srinivas Ganesh Utsav – Mulund
For several years, the Srinivas Ganesh Utsav which is housed in the suburb of Mulund in Mumbai has been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in an interesting and eco-friendly way.
Interestingly, the idols are designed by the members of the mandal themselves and their decorations involve a social theme or a topical issue.This year, the Ganpati idol is made of made from unique ingredients such as thread, turban cloth, pots, betel nut and coconuts. Besides this, the mandal is also spreading a social message about the evils of dowry.
- Girgaon Cha Raja – Girgaon
Girgaon Cha Raja is one of the most popular and eco-friendly Ganesha installations in Mumbai. The Ganesha idol which is sculpted by Rajendra Patkar is over 25 feet high and bears the distinction of being one of the highest Ganpati installations made out of clay. The Girgaon Cha Raja was founded in the year 1928 and this year marks the 90th year of the mandal.