As the great marathi writer Pu La Deshpande said if you are a Punekar then you must be proud of something about Pune. Yes we as Punekars indeed are proud of many things about the city. One such thing that brings us pride is the Ganesha festival. Bal Gangadhar Tilak started these Ganapati Celebrations to bring people together for social causes.
Pune still retains the old world charm of the festival. We might not have huge Ganesha 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 arrival of Ganesha!
On the day of Ganesha Chaturthi, we welcome Ganesha in the authentic Maharashtrian style. As women dress up in nine yard sarees, men wear Puneri pagadis. Dhol Tasha band groups bring the idol in the procession and is full with people chanting Ganpati Bappa Moraya filling the air with excitement.
First to arrive are the 5 Manache Ganapati followed by the others. These are considered most respected troupes or Mandals initially started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The decorations for the procession are a treat for eyes!
Watch this video to get a glimpse of Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations in Pune:
Ganapati celebrations in Pune
There are a few shrines which are not to be missed. We present you the list of these main shrines:
Famously known as the Pahila manacha ganpati, the Ganesha festival here is still celebrated in authentic Maharashtrian style. The Ganesha is welcomed with the sound of Tutari. The king arrives in a palanquin with the golden umbrella over it. See the procession video below. The decorations are kept minimal and the old style is maintained.
Tambdi Jogeshwari Ganapati
Tambdi Jogeshwari is the temple of Goddess Durga and is Gramadevata of Pune. The troupe immerses the idol of Ganesha after every Ganesha festival and re-establish again the next year.
See this documentary on the Tambdi Jogeshwari Ganapati
Guruji Talim Ganapati:
As a Hindu and a Muslim family have started the troupe, Guruji Talim Ganpati is the perfect example of communal harmony. The celebrations of Ganesha 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, it was and even now is considered to be the place for all your shopping needs. People make a beeline to the shops here. 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 its documentary –
Kesari Wada Ganapati
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 these festivals. During Ganesha festival, the troupe conducts various social activities like lectures, music concerts and competitions.
Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati:
Talk about tourist spots in Pune and the first name that comes to mind is Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati. This is the richest Ganesha in Pune and comes up with intricately made decorations each year. While the decorations are a sight to behold, the idol of Lord Ganesha is simply spectacular. Laden in gold, this is truly the crown of Pune. Visit the shrine for to see the beautiful Sun Temple this year. Also the troupe organises Atharvashirsha program every year with thousands of ladies dressed in traditional nine yards chanting Atharvashirsha in unison.
Akhil Mandai Mandal:
Mandai is the most famous vegetable market in Pune and what is even more famous is the Ganapati 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 immersion, when teary eyed worshippers bid a goodbye to their favorite Ganesha! 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 bands are the highlight of the mornings. Then, they bid a final good bye to the five main Ganapati. 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 immersion. One could see the crowds celebrating till wee hours in morning.
Take a look at the immersion procession of last year –
Have you seen the ganapati pandals this year? Which one did you like the best? Do share your #selfiewithbappa with us!
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