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The Lalbaugcha Raja, King of Lalbaug, is undoubtedly the most famous Ganesh statue in Mumbai. The mandal was founded in 1934, and has grown to be the most visited one in the city. The Kambli family, of Kambli Arts, has been making the idol since 1935. Its legendary design is now patent protected.
If you want to see the lengths people are prepared to go to for devotion, the Lalbaugcha Raja is the idol to visit. It draws an average of 1.5 million people a day -- astonishing! People simply believe that this Ganesh idol can fulfill their wishes, and there's a lot of media attention on it.
There are two main lines to see the idol: a general line, and line for those wanting to make a vow or get a wish fulfilled (navas). The navas line takes devotees right to the idol's feet, whereas the general line offers viewing (darshan) from a distance of around 10 meters away. Until recently, it was common for the navas line to stretch snake-like for over five kilometers and the waiting time would... be at least seven hours. However, in recent years, the organizer has started to manage devotees better. Although the line still stretches for two kilometers at times, it's more orderly and moves much faster. This is due to the grouping and release of a set amount of devotees at a time, and the use of multiple exits instead of only one.
Maharashtra Tourism runs air conditioned bus tours to visit popular Ganesh mandals in Mumbai, including the Lalbaugcha Raja. By special arrangement, guests won't be required to wait in line to see the idol.
- Location: Lalbaug market, GD Ambedkar Road, Lalbaug (central Mumbai).
- Nearest Railway Station: Walking distance from Lower Parel, Curry Road, and Chinchpolki stations.
- Waiting Time: About an hour.
- When to Visit: It's open around the clock. However, the busiest time is in the evening until midnight.
- 2017 Theme: The idol has been sculptured to resemble Korma, the second avatar of Lord Vishnu. An ornate golden palace replica provides the backdrop. The particular aspect of Hindu mythology that's being highlighted this year is the tortoise, which signifies longevity.
The procession for the immersion (visarjan) starts out at 10 a.m. from the Lalbaug market on the final day of the festival, and takes the following route: Lalbaug, Bharat Mata Theatre, Lalbaug, Sane Guruji Marg, Byculla Railway Station, Clare Road, Nagpada, Dunkan Road, Don Taki, Sant Sena Maharaj Marg (Kumbharwada), Suthar Gully, Madhav Baug, C.P. Tank, V.P. Road, Opera House, Girgaum Chowpatty. The immersion happens at 8 a.m. the next morning, using a special raft.
More information is available from the Lalbaugcha Raja website.Continue to 2 of 5 below.
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Ganesh Galli Mumbaicha Raja
The Mumbaicha Raja, in Ganesh Galli (Lane), is located only a couple of lanes away from the Lalbaugcha Raja and is also very popular. It lost its shine to the Lalbaugcha Raja in the late 1990s but still pulls in the crowds.
The mandal is well known for its lavish new themes every year, often a replica of a famous place in India. It was formed for the benefit of the mill workers in 1928, making it the oldest one in the area. Importantly, the use of Plaster of Paris has been reduced this year to prevent pollution.
- Location: Ganesh Galli (Lane), Lalbaug (central Mumbai).
- Nearest Railway Station: Chinchpokli, Curry Road, and Lower Parel railway stations are close by.
- Waiting Time: Can be as little as 20 minutes, or a few hours.
- When to Visit: It's always busy. Peak hours are in the afternoon and night from 3 p.m until 2 a.m.
- 2017 Theme: A replica of south India's spectacular golden temple. This is the lesser-known Shripuram temple at Vellore, in Tamil Nadu, which is made with 1,500... kilograms of pure gold and dedicated to Lakshminarayan. The idol is a repeat of the mandal's 1985 idol. It is 22 feet tall and wears a real gold necklace weighing 5 kilograms.
The procession for the immersion (visarjan) on the last day of the festival starts out from 8 a.m. and takes the following route: Dr. S.S Rao Road, Ganesh Cinema, Chinchpokli Bridge, Arthur Road Corner, Saat Rasta, Sane Guruji Marg, Agreepada, Dr. Bhadkamkar Marg, Opera House, Wilson Collage, Girgaum Chowpatty. The immersion is completed by 8.30 p.m. on the same day.
More information is available from the Mumbaicha Raja website.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
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The award-winning Khetwadi Ganraj is considered to be one of the most spectacular Ganesh idols in Mumbai. The mandal was established in 1959 but found fame in 2000, when it made the highest Ganesh idol in Indian history, standing 40 feet tall. The idol is decked out in real gold jewelry and adorned with diamonds.
An added attraction when visiting the Khetwadi Ganraj is that there's a Ganesh idol in almost every lane in the area -- so you'll have plenty to see!
- Location: 12th Lane Kehetwadi, Girgaum (south Mumbai).
- Nearest Railway Station: The nearest stations are Charni Road and Sandhurst Road.
- When to Visit: During the day is best. Peak time is in the evenings from dusk to midnight.
- 2017 Theme: A replica of Baahubali’s set. The idol's trunk will also have real diamonds on it this year too.
More information is available from the Khetwadi Ganraj website.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
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GSB Seva Kings Circle
The GSB Seva Ganesh mandal is affectionately known as Mumbai's gold Ganesh. Yes, that's pure gold it's adorned with -- more than 60 kilograms of it! The mandal, often stated to be the richest in the city, was founded by the Gowd Saraswat Brahmin community from Karnataka in 1954. They've prospered in Mumbai, and as a mark of respect to the city they conduct various social programs along with a grand celebration of the Ganesh festival.
The idol is always an eco-friendly one, made out of clay. The mandal is also distinctive because there's none of the usual recorded music there. Instead, traditional Indian musical instruments used in south Indian temples are played.
A convenient aspect of this mandal is that it has an elevated walkway set up to aid viewing of the idol.
- Location: G.S.B. Sports Club Ground, Near S.N.D.T. Women's College, R.A. Kidwai Road, King's Circle, Matunga (central Mumbai).
- Nearest Railway Station: Kings Circle on the Harbour Line and Matunga on... the Central Line.
- When to Visit: This Ganesh idol only stays for the first five days of the festival, so see it early.
- 2017 Theme: The mandal is planning to hold silent procession for immersion of the idol, even though noise pollution norms have been relaxed in the city.
More information is available from the GSB Seva Mandal website.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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The Andhericha Raja is to the Mumbai suburbs what the Lalbaugcha Raja is to south Mumbai. The mandal was established in 1966 by the workers of the Tobacco company, Tata Special Steel and Excel Industries Ltd, who moved from Lalbaug to be closer to their factories.
Compared to many other famous mandals in Mumbai, the idol isn't as towering or imposing. However, it has a reputation for fulfilling wishes. The mandal also usually has a novel theme and other attractions, which have in the past included sand sculpture and a mela (carnival).
- Location: Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri West (western Mumbai suburbs).
- Nearest Railway Station: Andheri.
- When to Visit: Evenings are busiest, however devotees have some extra time to see the God. The idol is the only one in Mumbai to be immersed on Sankashthi Chaturthi, which is about five days after Anant Chaturdashi (the last day of the festival when large idols are commonly immersed). Dress conservatively with legs covered or you won't be... allowed in.
- 2017 Theme: The Ballaleshwar temple of the famous Ashtavinayak trail in Pali village, Maharashtra.
The procession for the immersion will start out at 5 p.m. on Sankashthi Chaturthi (September 9, 2017) and take the following route: Azad Nagar II, Veera Desai Road, J P Road Amboli, S V Road, Andheri Market, Navrang Cinema, Sony Mony, Apna Bazar, Indian Oil Nagar Junction, Four Bungalows, Seven Bungalows, Versova Bus Depot, and finally to Versova village. It takes around 20 hours. The immersion will happen late morning on September 10, 2017.
Further information is available from the Andhericha Raja website.