MUMBAI/NAGPUR: People in Maharashtra today welcomed the God of good luck and prosperity – Lord Ganesha – to their homes and community pandals amid fanfare as the 10-day-long festival devoted to the state’s most beloved deity commenced with religious fervor.
The festival began with devotees, attired in traditional clothes, installing colorfully-crafted idols of the elephant-headed God in their homes and tastefully decorated pandals across the state, including in major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who installed an eco-friendly Ganesh idol at his home, appealed the public to celebrate the festival in an environment-friendly manner.
“HappyGaneshChaturthi to all! Let’s celebrate & enjoy Ganeshotsav the environment friendly way.#ganapatibappamorya,” he tweeted.
The mood was full of gaiety and devotion, with chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ reverberating across Maharashtra.
In Mumbai, devotees took part in ‘aarti’ at several temples, including the famous Prabhadevi-based Siddhivinayak Temple.
This year, megastar Amitabh Bachchan has lent his voice for an ‘aarti’ at Siddhivinayak Temple. The 73-year-old actor tweeted that it was a “blessing” for him to be given the “divine honor”.
Several popular Ganesh Mandals were thronged by devotees since wee hours, with the popular Lalbaugcha Raja starting prayers at 4 AM, followed by darshan at 6 AM.
Other prominent Ganesh mandals like GSB Seva Mandal in Kings Circle, has a 14-feet long idol made of clay while Wadala GSB Mandal has designed its pandal like the famous Tirupati Balaji Temple. These pandals witnessed long queues of people waiting to get darshan of the God of Wisdom.
Bollywood personalities like Salman Khan, Jeetendra, Nana Patekar, Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Suresh Wadekar, Govinda and a host of Marathi film and theatre actors are the prominent names who celebrate Ganesh festival at their homes by installing idols.
In Nagpur, Union Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari performed the traditional rituals in presence of his family members at his residence ‘Gadkari Wada’ in Mahal area in the eastern part of the city.
As many as 1,163 Ganesh idols are being installed at public places in Nagpur, as per the city Police Information Centre.
Police have beefed up security for the festival across the state.–PTI