PUNE: Amidst the chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’ and ‘pudchya varshi laukar ya’ and light showers, the devotees bid adieu to Lord Ganesh in the city on Thursday. Interestingly, this year’s immersion procession was marked with a few new elements like the early ending of the immersion procession for all five Manache (Revered) Ganpati besides an overall reduction in noise pollution.
The revered Ganpati in their palanquins finished their immersion procession an hour earlier than last year, according to the police. Thousands of devotees and ‘Dhol Pathaks’ bid farewell to their beloved ‘Bappa’ in all its glory and grandeur. With more than 7,000 police officials keeping a watch to avoid any untoward incidents, the immersion procession this year was a well-organised event.
“The procession of Kasba Peth Ganpati started at around 10:30 am from Mandai and reached Laxmi Road at around 11:15 am. At around 2:30 pm, the procession reached Tilak Chowk near Alka Talkies and finally, the immersion took place at 4:29 pm. This year, the immersion of all five Manache Ganpati was done one hour earlier than last year,” said Kasba Ganpati Mandal President Srikant Shete.
“This year, the Ganpati procession was all about creating awareness among the masses on various issues. Therefore, this year, our theme was river cleaning with children performing a street play on the theme before the palkhi,” he added.
The streets were decorated with rangolis. Rangoli artists from Rashtriya Kala Akadami drew rangoli at each major chowk from where the procession passed. Women in sarees were playing phugdi during the procession. A group of children doing Malakhamb on the truck was also another attraction.
This year’s procession also saw the presence of foreign students who have come to Pune as a part of the exchange programme.
“The energy is infectious here and I have never seen such a celebration anywhere. The excitement of people was extraordinary and I enjoyed it a lot,” said Ida Krab from Denmark, who came to India two weeks ago for an exchange programme at Fergusson College. The Rotary Club of Youth Exchange had 13 people from Brazil, Columbia and Mexico, who were a part of the procession dressed in Indian attire.
Abhijeet Kadam, a member of the Gaokosh Maruti Sanstha, said, “Our mandal followed all rules. We were aware of the DJ ban. Therefore, we followed all norms set by Pune police.”
FOLLOW TRAFFIC RULES
Kasba Peth, ‘Gaokosh Maruti Sanstha’ spread the message of helmet awareness through a banner placed on the well-decorated Ganpati rath (truck). On a banner, the Ganpati was drawn carrying a helmet in his hand, conveying the use of helmets for two-wheeler riders. The message read ‘Rather than making a vow to me (Ganpati) after the accident, it’s better to wear helmet’, which became a focus of attraction amongst the devotees.
25 members of Gadkille Sanwardhan Samiti, who are working for the conservation of forts, were also part of the Ganpati procession to create awareness among the people about the decision of the State government to lease out the forts. Prasad Dangat Patil, the President of NGO, said, “We have started Raigad/Rajgad Sanvardhan Mohim since the government stated their decision of leasing out the forts. We are against it and since Ganesh festival is a big celebration, we decided to be part of it and create awareness among people as it is important to protect our forts which are a part of our culture.”
(With inputs from Anvita Srivastava, Nikhil Borkar, Vardhan Pandhare and Aarti Chawla)