Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lalbaugcha Raja and Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandals

Though I love meeting Lord Ganesha at the various Ganpati Pandals during the Ganesotsav festival, somehow the most famous Ganpati of Mumbai, the Lalbaugcha Raja has always eluded me. But this year, for the very first time in my life,  I finally managed to fix an appointment with the Emperor of Mumbai – Lalbaugcha Raja and got His blessings at last!

9th September : This friday was special… very special to me! I was on a special journey, a journey to meet the royal ruler before He departs to His abode…

A Photographic Journey to the Lalbaugcha Raja, Lower Parel, Mumbai

It’s 7.00 AM and shops are still closed. Day in His Kingdom is yet to begin… For a town that never sleeps (The Pandal is open 24*7 on all festival days), this indeed comes as a surprise…

Shacks and shops lining the Lalbaugcha Raja route duing the Ganesh Chaturthi

As I walk towards the Pandal, I understand He is not only a king, but also the current hot favorite Superstar featured in the various billboard ad campaigns lining up the way to the Pandal…

Huge Ad Billboards featuring Lord Ganesha during the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Mumbai

All roads seem to be leading up to Him, everyone seems to be heading in one single direction, with one common goal


The crowds at the Lalbaugcha Raja, Ganesh Pandal during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations

After a few min walk, the palace comes in view… the big gates luring me in… I find a certain sense of anxiousness and anxiety gripping me tight

The main entrance to the Lalbaugcha Raja, Ganesh mandal

There is a certain magic in the air, a certain madness, and I join in the frenzy

Devotees at the Lalbaugcha Raja, Ganesh Pandal during Ganeshotsav

Once in, the overpowering sense of crowds suddenly seem to evaporate and you become a part of them; everyone becomes one in the core basic thought and what exists now is no individual entity but just one big mass of humanity!

Crowds at the Lalbaugcha Raja, Ganesh Pandal during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations

I let out a loud ‘JAI’ that crash with parallel sound waves coming in from all directions, everytime chants of ‘Bolo Ganpati Bappa Ki..’ and ‘Undir Mama Ki…’  are heard and feel a swift dash of exhilaration run in…

Long Mukhdarshan lines to meet the Lalbaugcha Raja during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations

Bagha Bagha! Lalbaghcha Raja Disto Aahe!’ (Look! The Lord is now visible! ) It’s just 20 min or so in the queue… A glimpse so soon, How? I wonder. But a single step forward, a slight curve in the queue and yes, its indeed Him!

Long narrow Mukhdarshan lines to meet the Lalbaugcha Raja during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations
Long and narrow Mukhdarshan lines to meet the Lalbaugcha Raja during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations
Long narrow queues to meet the Lalbaugcha Raja during Ganeshotsav

Within a few minutes, digicams, mobile cams are out and people hamper scamper to freeze and capture Him in the best possible way they can…

People capture theLord ganesh Image in their cameras at the Lalbaugcha Raja, Ganesh Pandal during Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations

A few more min and little do I know, but I am standing right in front of HIM! He welcomes me personally with a warm smile …?!… It’s thrilling! He sits on His majestic throne sparkling, gleaming… radiating an aura that’s much more than just mesmerizing, hipnotizing or any other similar adjective that I can think of…

The Lalbaugcha Raja - Ganpati in all His slendour at the Lalbaug Ganpati Mandal

Who says Lalbaugcha raja is one of the largest 'idols' in Mumbai, I disagree! The Lord is  not only an 'idol' but very much alive here… and it’s the incredible power of the engaged faith and reverence of millions and millions over the years that has breathed life in Him… you just need to hold those cords of conviction taut, stay true to your beliefs and then feel His Presence…


Outside the pandal, after the coveted 'darshan', a sense of satisfaction and content lingers on and the atmosphere is very much relaxed… People revel in the bliss of pleasure and happiness and take back with them sacred marks of their Beloved BAPPA

Sacred Red Thread of faith at the Lalbaugcha Raja - Ganesh Pandal
Red mark on the foreheads of devotees at the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganpati Mandal

A stone's throw from Lalbaugcha Raja Ganpati Pandal is the Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandal, known to come up with one of the best decorations in Mumbai every year…

Lalbaug sarvajanik utsav madal, Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandal in Mumbai

There is a fee of Rs 10 to go in… I shell out the bucks, albeit unwillingly, to see Him in… There is a small beeline of devotees…

A narrow line of devotees at the Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandal in Mumbai

A big statue of Lord Shiva, His father, keeping guardA palatial ambience all around…

The decorations at the Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandal in Mumbai
Lord Shiva statue as part the decorations at the Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandal in Mumbai
Lord Shiva Temple inside the Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandal compound in Mumbai

A Shivling inside the Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandal compound in Mumbai

Lord Ganesha is seated in the most humble of settings devoid of any exuberant ornamentations or decorations, a complete contrast to all the lavishness outside…

Lord Ganesha at the Lalbaug sarvajanik utsav madal, Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandal
Deity of Lord ganesha at the Lalbaug sarvajanik utsav madal, Ganesh Galli Ganpati Pandal

Today is the last day of the festival, the Ganesh Visarjan day… And as I write this post, the final procession of the Lalbaugcha Raja is already underway from Lalbaug and will reach Chowpatty the next morning.

Though it’s too late now to push all those who have never had a chance to make a trip to the Lalbaugcha Raja to make one this year but… I strongly urge you to mark those dates in your calendar diary for the next festive year… The All Obstacle Removing Lord, The Wish Granting King – The Lalbaugcha Raja is calling you, Make sure you Hear His call!

Related Info on Lalbaugcha Raja -

1. There are two lines for the darshan. The Mukhdarshan line is the one in which you only get to see Him from a distance and moves much faster than its counterpart, called the Navsaachi Rang or Mannatwali Line. The wait in this latter queue can extend to as long as upto 20 hrs. We opted for the former and it took us just about 40 minutes to reach Lord Ganesha.

2. It is among the city's  richest mandals and each year a huge amount is received in the form of donations. This year, the total collection during Ganeshotsav has been around 6 crores.

How to Reach Lalbaugcha Raja -

The nearest station to Lalbaugcha Raja on the western railway lines is Lower Parel. On the central route, you will need to alight at the Currey road railway station. It is a 10-15 min walkable distance from both these stations.

43 comments:

  1. Great ! so u managed to go and see both! hope i am lucky next year!!!

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  2. @ Anu
    Yes, I managed to visit both of them. Your mail encouraged me too.

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  3. lots of crowd....nice pics :)

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  4. What a great road!The road must be important both for people and gods.I enjoyed wonderful world which is different from ours.

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  5. Lovely snaps, Arti! And cute narration too. Loved the uninor billboard;)

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  6. Glad to hear you eventually got that appointment. Thanks for some fab photos.

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  7. you describe the anticipation for meeting Lalbaugcha Raja so well, it was almost as if I were there with you. once people have taken this journey and met him, do some return again? the long lines and the hours that people wait for him amaze me. another great post Arti. thanks for sharing, and happy day to you!

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  8. @ Ms Becky
    The Lalbaugcha Raja is the most revered Ganpati Pandal of Mumbai. People have enormous faith in Him. Superstars, Sportsstars and even Politicians bow before Him.
    People do return every year but it depends from person to person, its not compulsory.

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  9. Love your pictures and thanks for taking us along on another fascinating trip! Hope you have a lovely evening, Arti, and a great week ahead!

    Sylvia

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  10. A great virtual tour of the statues.
    Thanks.

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  11. I've always wanted to see The Lalbaugcha Raja. I've always heard about it from people but have never visited it. I hope next year I would be able to. Very nice post. Keep up the good work.

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  12. Really delighted with your nice devotional post
    and pictures.Sri Ganesh is the symbol of "Subh".
    Let our heart and mind feel and fill with "subh" (शुभ) only.
    Many many thanks to you for presenting us
    so much information with your post.

    Please, visit my blog.Published a new post today.

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  13. Another great post Arti! :) Loved the pics :)

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  14. Hello Arti,
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    We are currently working on a project which aims to connect bloggers around the world and share their favorites (Stay, Restaurant, and Experience) on India Travel.
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  15. I liked the photograph of Lord Shiva most :)
    Anyways liked your posts as always...wish me luck for my internet connection :P

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  16. wonderfull clicks ... feel as if I am with you on this journey ... genesha looks awesome

    Super Yummy Recipes

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  17. Reading ur Yatra Diary after a very long time :)
    Nice to go thru' dis post!
    And I loved the pics :D :)

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  18. I understand Indian are extremely religious,seeing lots people are making so long line in your photos.
    Thank you for taking me to the brilliant festival.
    Have a lovely week ahead.
    Sarah

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  19. Wow, this post had me amazed and in awe... Looks like so much fun!! :)

    btw, would like to mail you, can you send me a test mail pls.. aaroo4 at gmail dot com.. Thank you

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  20. Arti.. Thats great, your naration reminds me my journey. Even I had been there.

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  21. I loved the statue of Lord Shiva. It is so awesome. And of course, Ganesha steals the show. The enthusiasm of people around is totally enjoyable. Nice pics, Arti! :)

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  22. The photographic journey was great. I must confess that I never ventured to meet him though I have been visiting Mumbai every year in the past.

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  23. Felt so happy reading this. Very poignant event.

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  24. it terrible when accidents befall a crowd of faithful celebrating a huge event, like what happened recently in mumbai. i saw it on the news.

    have a wonderful week ahead of you, arti.

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  25. With your words of high anticipation and excitement, Arti, I feel as if I were part of it expecting HIM genuinely and enthusiastically. It’s marvelous that people act orderly in such a crowd. To see everyone getting united by a single common goal, I’ve come to think that there must be a goal towards which all mankind is striving. Why should we not strive towards the goal together, since it is what unites us all? Your post is not only informative but also food for thoughts. Have a peaceful week.

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  26. Your words really showed your excitement. What a different world from mine. Yours so full of people and festivals bringing more together. The energy must have been very high during this time. Thank you for sharing your very exciting trip. Have a wonderful week.

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  27. Nice! You took us through a compelling photo journey Arti. Must've been a memorable experience for you right!

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  28. 20 hours in a queue - now that's devotion!

    Wonderful photos of the joy of the festival.

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  29. good pictures of Lalbaugh Cha Raja!

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  30. Ganesh pandals in Mumbai is very popular and growing year after year. I am only concerned it does not become a money making racket for unsocial elements.

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  31. very nice-next time you have to visit the durga puja pandals!

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  32. aaah what a crowd. that's like apnaa India. Miss home.

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  33. Wow! Great post, you know what a friend had to wait just for 30mins to Lalbaugcha, that too for last 2 years...

    I too took a lot of pics of Ganapati Visharjan this year, will post them soon....

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  34. Arti, I am so thrilled dear. It's a wonderful live journey...especially for me, it's such a divine blessing, coz I avoid crowd. And hey, next time do publish a video on this...:)

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  35. Excellent overview, it pointed me out something I didn’t realize before. I should encourage for your wonderful work. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. Thank you for sharing this information with us.
    ************************************************************************
    Tour & Travel

    ************************************************************************

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  36. Hi Arti,

    I was looking for information about visiting Lal Baug Ka Raja and came across your blog..I would like to make a trip to Mumbai this year to have his darshan. I would like to go in the Navas queue..is it advisable to go and stand in the queue the previous evening for darshan next day morning? Would you be going this year or any group whom I can join..I'd appreciate your reply..if you could please mail me at maallzz at yahoo dot com..thank you

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  37. @Malz I am afraid I cant help you much with the Navsaachi line info as I have not been in that.

    God willing, I might again get to see HIM this year but as of now I have not planned anything. I am not aware of any groups that you could join either.

    May God Bless You :-)

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  38. Ganesh Galli's Ganpati (Mumbai Cha Raja) Idol which you saw in 2011 was the replica of the first ever tallest Idol ever made in the history of Ganeshotsav ...... It was in the year 1977, the same Mandal namely, Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav mandal (since 1928) which was celebrating 50 years of its incorporation then came with an Idea to make something that would grip devotees all over ..... An ace sculptor, Late. Dinanath Veling a mentor to many present day sculptors like Khatu, Zhad, Kambli, Bagwe, etc was the person who sculpted an exuberant masterpiece 22 feet Idol of Lord Ganesha seated on a Lotus in the year 1977 and created history...... It was then people started flocking in huge numbers to Lalbaug to pay a visit to this majestic Ganpati of Lalbaug, Ganesh Galli (Mumbai Cha Raja)..... The Original Pride of Lalbaug .....

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  39. I have been many a times to lal baug for d Darshan od Raja and was checking some pics on internet and found ur blog which is absolutely stuuning...Your presentation and how u actually felt at the time of Darshan shown together in dis blog actually got Goose Bums and made me more excited to go next yaer again....GOOD JOB DONE!!!!!!!!
    PLZ DO PUT SOME PICS OF DIFFERENT MANDALS ASWEL IN MUMBAI IF U HAVE BEEN

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  40. Was just going through some pics of Lal Baug ka Raja and ended entering in ur blog...
    No doubt d pics are good but the job done by you is just so amazing....
    I being Mumbaikar i always go for Lal Baug ka Raja ka darshan but while going
    thrgh ur Blog u actually made me feel so real again which got tears in my eyes remebering dos happy
    days when my family and friend get together to go for his darshan .....
    Well really good job done..Cheers!!!!!!!!
    If u can add some more pics of Pandals from Mumbai wil b really great

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