Millions in Maharashtra bid adieu to Ganesh idol

Millions in Maharashtra bid adieu to Ganesh idol
Devotees dance as they arrive to immerse Ganesha's idol during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Gurgaon on Sunday.

Mumbai - Elaborate arrangements had been made by the authorities across the metropolis to prevent untoward incidents.


Nithin Belle

Published: Mon 28 Sep 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 28 Sep 2015, 10:38 AM

Millions of devotees came out on the streets of Mumbai and other cities in Maharashtra on Sunday, as they took out processions with idols of the elephant-headed Hindu deity Ganesha and immersed them in the sea and in water bodies.
Most of Mumbai's major arteries were chock-a-block with devotees from the morning onwards, as they headed for the beaches along the city's west coast. Some of the large Ganesha idols, such as the famous Lalbaug-cha Raja, took several hours to wind their way through crowded lanes of central and south Mumbai.
While hundreds of thousands of people joined the processions, many more watched them from the balconies and terraces of buildings. Elaborate arrangements had been made by the authorities across the metropolis to prevent untoward incidents.Nearly 50,000 police and security personnel had been deployed all over Mumbai to maintain law and order. The Mumbai police had deployed its officers and men and they were joined by personnel from the state reserve police force and some para-military forces as well. Thousands of women police personnel and detectives in civilian clothes had also been posted along the procession routes to prevent anti-social elements from harassing women.
Similarly, the traffic police were also out in full strength on Sunday.
The police had put up watchtowers at Chowpatty and other beaches and senior officers were monitoring the situation through hundreds of CCTV cameras placed at all prominent public places.
Besides this, thousands of fire brigade and rescue personnel, lifeguards and volunteers had fanned across Mumbai to prevent accidents and to rescue people caught in the waves.
The Bombay Municipal Corporation had made arrangements for the immersion of the idols at nearly a hundred spots including beaches, lakes and other water bodies.
The 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular festival in Maharashtra. While many devout Hindus keep idols of the deity in their homes and immerse them in the sea or even in wells and rivers and lakes a few days later, the larger idols kept at public places are immersed on the 10th day.
The 10-day festivities were popularised by freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the early part of the 20th century. Traditionally, cultural and social events were held in the evenings at public places where the idols were kept.
However, in recent years many anti-social elements have taken over the events, extorting funds from local businesses, playing loud music (often vulgar songs) throughout the day and well into the night and encouraging boorish behaviour by drunken men.
Last week, the police arrested a few organisers in north-west Mumbai, as they had converted one of the Ganpati mandals into an impromptu dance bar, featuring female dancers, with men showering currency notes on them.

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