As the great marathi writer Pu La Deshpande said if you are a Punekar then you must be proud of somethingabout Pune. Yes we as Punekars indeed are proud of many things about the city. One such thing that brings us pride is the Ganesh festival. Bal Gangadhar Tilak started these Ganpati Celebrations to bring people together for social causes.
Pune still retains the old world charm of the festival.We might not have huge Ganesh idols like our neighbor Mumbai but our Dhol-Tasha pathaks are second to nobody!
We as Punekars love to welcome Lord Ganesha in a grand manner. There are thousands of people who start preparing months before the actual festival. The mandals decorate their pandals. Many enthusiastic volunteers practice Dhol Tasha, religiously. The air in Pune changes in anticipation of Bappa!
On the day of Ganesh Chaturdashi, we welcome bappa in the authentic Maharashtrian style. As women dress up in Navvari sarees, men wear Puneri pagadis. Dhol Tasha pathaks with people chanting Ganpati Bappa Moraya in the procession fill the air with excitement.
First to arrive are the 5 Manache Ganpati followed by the others. These are considered most respected Mandals initially started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The decorations for the Miravnuk (procession) are a treat for eyes!
Watch this video to get a glimpse of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Pune:
There are a few pandals which are not to be missed.We present you the list of these mandals:
Famously known as the Pahila manacha ganpati, the Ganesh festival here is still celebrated in authentic Maharashtrian style. The Ganesha is welcomed with the sound of Tutari. The king arrives in a palkhi with the golden umbrella over it. See the Miravnuk video below. The decorations are kept minimal and the old style is maintained.
Tambdi Jogeshwari Ganpati
Tambdi Jogeshwari is the temple of Goddess Durga and is Gramadevata of Pune. The mandal immerses the idol of Ganpati after every Ganesh puja and re-establish again the next year.
See this documentary on the Tambdi Jogeshwari Ganpati
Guruji Talim Ganpati:
As a Hindu and a Muslim family have started the Mandal, Guruji Talim Ganpati is the perfect example of communal harmony. The celebrations of Ganesh festival every year show strengthened Hindu-Muslim unity.
Tulshibaug a shoppers heaven in Pune! Even before the malls took over the shopping scene in Pune, Tulshibaug was and even now is considered to be the place for all your shopping needs. People make a beeline to the shops in Tulshibaug. The Ganesha idol of Tulshibaug is 15 feet tall and the largest idol in Pune. The decorations are simple and match the huge statues.
Check this documentary on Tulshibaug Ganpati –
Kesari Wada Ganpati
The Ganpati is located in Kesari wada where Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the newspaper Kesari. The walls on both sides have beautiful carving depicting Bal Gangadhar Tilak initiating the celebrations of the Ganesh festival and Shivjayanti Festival. During Ganesh festival, the mandal conducts various social activities like lectures, music concerts and competitions.
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati:
Talk about tourist spots in Pune and the first name that comes to mind is Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati. This is the richest Ganpati in Pune and comes up with intricately made decorations each year .While the decorations are a sight to behold,the murti of Lord Ganesha is simply specatular. Laden in gold,this is truly the crown of Pune. Visit the Mandal for to see the beautiful Sun Temple this year. Also the Mandal organises Atharvashirsha program every year with thousands of ladies dressed in traditional Maharashtrian Navvari chanting Athvarshirsha in unison.
Akhil Mandai Mandal:
Mandai is the most famous vegetable market in Pune and what is even more famous is the Ganpati bappa of Mandai. The Mandai Ganpati idol is sitting on a swing with Goddess Sharada. The idol itself is so beautiful that you just want to keep looking at it. The decorations are huge and extravagant just like Dagdusheth Halvai Ganpati. This year you get to see the Jain temple of 24 Tirthankars.
We culminate this festival on the day of Visarjan, when teary eyed bhakts bid a goodbye to their favorite bappa! The city turns into a spectacle as people go in huge numbers to see the final procession of Bappa! The traditional procession along with Dhol Tasha and lezim pathaks are the highlight of the mornings. Then, they bid a final good bye to five Manache Ganpati. The crowds come on the streets in evenings dancing to the music as the gigantic structures constructed only for this final day carries bappa for Visarjan. One could see the crowds celebrating till wee hours in morning.
Take a look at the visarjan Miravnuk of last year
Have you seen the ganpati pandals this year? Which one did you like the best? Do share your #selfiewithbappa with us!