Six Iconic Ganapati Pandals of Mumbai
By August end, you would hear chants of ‘Ganapati Bappa Morya’ reverberating all over for the next 10 days as the country celebrates the commencing of Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi, one of the most important festivals in India. Although the festival holds nationwide significance, Mumbai takes the festivities a few notches higher than the rest of India.
One of the major highlights of Ganesh Chaturthi’s celebrations in Mumbai is the establishment of big Ganapati pandals throughout the city. Just like individuals bring home Lord Ganesh, in Pandals, a group of people welcome the Lord by placing the idol on a makeshift/temporary stage/dais. The idol is open to the public, and people of religion, caste, and community can visit the pandal, and seek the lord’s blessings.
The idea of starting a Pandal was the brainchild of the legendary leader of India, Bal Gangadhar Tilak. It first started in Pune, and eventually spread to different parts of Maharashtra. It was a way to gather the people of all communities, and unite them in the fight against the British. Over the years, the Pandals became very popular, and in Mumbai, there are many iconic Pandals that attract huge visitors, devotees from all over India.
Apart from seeking the blessings of the Lord, as a tourist, visiting these pandals tells you a lot about the undying spirit of Mumbai. During the 10 days of the festival, you would see the entire city lit up with colourful lights, showcasing Mumbai’s and Mumbaikar’s love for this beautiful festival and Lord Ganesh.
As people/devotees stand in queues at the pandal for many hours till late night shows the spiritual and the devotional side of the city, that otherwise never stops. Also, near every popular Ganesh Chaturthi pandal, there are always rows of food stalls lined on either side of the road selling amazing Mumbai’s delicacies, giving tourists the chance to indulge in Mumbai’s Street food.
The name literally translates to ‘Kind of Andheri’ and true to its name, during the 10 days of the festival, the Lord is treated like a true King. The pandal was first started in 1966, and since then its popularity has grown manifold. Many people come to this pandal to offer their prayers and make wishes, and it is said that those who pray to Lord here, get their wishes granted.
You may spot many celebrities who visit the Pandal during the festival who also come here to seek blessings. The grand decoration, and the overall festive atmosphere in and around the Pandal will surely leave you spellbound.
Located in south Mumbai, an interesting fact about this Pandal is that the shape of the idol remains the same every year and only one family has been making this idol since it started. When you reach the location, you would see 13 lanes, each with its own Pandal. But the grandest and the most popular of them is on the 12thLane, Khetwadicha Raja, which has many awards for the best idol and pandal in Mumbai.
This popular Ganapati pandal in Mumbai is located close to the Girgaon Chowpatty, a popular tourist place. It is one of the few pandals in Mumbai that has switched to having eco-friendly Ganesh idols since 2016 with a view to promote safe celebration. The pandal draws hundreds of visitors everyday till the last day, who celebrate it with full spirits.
GSB Seval Mandal
One of the richest Ganesh pandals in the city, here the idol of the Lord is adorned with many gold and silver ornaments. When you visit the pandal, apart from the spiritual aura, the beauty of the decoration and the idol will give you a spectacle like you have never seen before. It is also the only pandal in the city where the rituals are performed round the clock for the entire festival duration.
Ganesh Galli Mumbaicha Raja
This iconic pandal in Mumbai in the Lalbaug area is well known for its many theme-based celebrations. Every year, they create a replica of the famous places in India. The pandal was started in 1928 for the benefit of the mill workers who worked at the mills in the nearby region. Since then, its popularity has grown tremendously and it is a must-visit pandal.
The Grandest pandal of all pandals in Mumbai, Lalbaughcha Raja is undisputedly the most famous pandal in the city. It was formed in 1934, and it is one of the most visited pandals in the city. Thousands of tourists, devotees from all over India visit Mumbai just to seek Lord Blessings here.
Devotees stand in the queue for many hours, sometimes, overnight just to see the lord and touch his feet. There is an unbelievable faith in Mumbaikar's that this Ganesha fulfils all their wishes. Celebrities, politicians, sportspeople, they call come here to offer their prayers and bow their heads to the Lord.
With Ganesh Chaturthi just around the corner, plan a trip to Mumbai and visit one or all of these Pandals to take part in the celebrations.