Best recognised as Mumbai's richest Ganesh Mandal, GSB Seva Mandal located in King's Circle has appealed to the government to allow installation of a 14 ft idol. This appeal was made on the grounds that a smaller idol would not be able to accommodate the jewellery that is offered by its devotees, which will then discontinue an age-old tradition.
"Every year we adorn the idol with gold jewellery weighing around 73 kg which has been gifted to the Lord by the devotees upon fulfilment of their wishes. This has been the tradition since the past many years. It would not be possible in case of a smaller idol," R G Bhat, Chairman and trustee of the Mandal was quoted saying to Mumbai Mirror Online on Saturday.
The letter which has been addressed to the Chief Minister had appealed for permission, as the government had previously declared for the Ganesh idols to be not more than 4-ft tall. This decision was taken with a view on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and was brought about to tone down the celebrations for the year. Keeping in mind the government's decision, Mumbai's iconic Lalbaugcha Raja has decided to forgo the celebrations, and hold a 10-day-long blood and plasma donation camp instead.
However, despite the appeal, Bhat has reassured that the GSB Mandal, which has been organising the festival for the past 65 years, will follow the appropriate social distancing norms. They have also made it a point to follow the hygiene concerns, and like every year, create the idol at the Pandal itself. "Like in the previous years, this year too we will make our Pandal itself. So the question of bringing the idol in a procession does not arise. Moreover, for immersion, we will be making an artificial pond right in the trust's Maidan for immersions without any procession," he said.
He also mentioned that not every devotee be able to visit the pandal this year. "We have developed our very own software where devotees can book their designated slot (at the pandal) by booking over online Moreover, the entire proceedings (of the puja) would be telecasted live," he said.
Apart from this, there would be no distribution of the prasad. "The Prasad would be couriered to the homes of the devotees by taking the help of e-commerce firms," he added.