Jiten housing society near Bhavan’s College in Andheri, which attracts long queues thanks to its ornate craftsmanship and artistic archway, has crafted a stunning pandal this year too. “Art director Suyog Bhosle has replicated the Siddhivinayak concourse in the mandap. Artist Sagar Mhatre has painted events from the Ramayana by hand,” said organiser Uday Singh.
His son Rohan said, “Moortikar Kedar Gothankar has fashioned a 4 ft idol that is made of 100% clay. In fact it weighs an entire 600 kilos. We will not have to worry too much about loading and unloading it since we will not travel to Versova for visarjan, as we do every year. We have built an artificial pond within our building compound where we will perform immersion. Also arrangements have been made for live streaming darshan.”
Meanwhile, Tejukaya Chawl, the rather creative neighbour of the Lalbaugcha Raja, has crafted a 4 ft papier mache moorti in place of its towering 22-24 ft giant PoP idol. Spokesman Rahul Dhumne said, “Our in-house moortikar Rajan Zad went to his village during the lockdown but has carved all the idols there and despatched them to Mumbai.” Tejukaya Chawl was demolished five years ago and residents are anxiously waiting for redevelopment to begin. They continue to install the idol each year, and arrive from far-flung places for seva and darshan.
Meanwhile GSB King’s Circle is preparing for Wednesday’s visarjan of its five-day Ganpati. This richest mandal of Mumbai had sought permission to host its regular large idol but was denied, and consequently installed a small 4 ft Ganpati. Trustee RG Bhat said, “This year it is a simple celebration. We have placed no jewellery on the idol, and no devotees are allowed either. We are granting only online darshan via our web site, Facebook and YouTube from 7.00am to 9.00pm.”
GSB’s priests have been live streaming pujas, issuing advance instructions to devotees to keep durva grass and hibiscus flowers ready at home should they wish to follow suit. Wednesday’s visarjan will take place around 9.00pm with merely ten volunteers in attendance.
The Parelcha Raja of Nare Park, which earned the honour of having Supari Baug road named after its idol last weekend, is conducting blood donation camps August 29-30. Trustee Milind Gawde said, “Blood donors will be called as per a list drafted earlier to avoid crowding. We are sanitising our pandal three or four times daily and checking visitors’ body temperature and oxygen levels. Social distancing is a major concern. Our activists are being provided with face shields, masks and gloves. Sanitiser stands have been placed at all entry points.”
Parelcha Raja darshan is also available online and visarjan will be performed in an artificial tank on site.