Mumbai, Aug 25: Amid rain at many places, millions of people on Friday enthusiastically welcomed their popular elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha, marking the start of the 12-day Ganeshotsav festival all over Maharashtra, besides other parts of India and even abroad.
Now in its 125th year, the festival was heralded by lakhs of small, medium, large and gigantic idols of the “Vignaharta” (remover of obstacles) starting to arrive in various public marquees, housing complexes and homes of people over the past three days in trucks, tempos, private vehicles, two-wheelers and even carried on the heads of the devotees.
The commoners, as well as celebs, film-stars, politicians and corporate bigwigs, have joined the celebrations in a big way which started on Friday with the inaugural morning “aarti” in praise of Lord Ganesha.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has also installed an idol at his official home “Varsha” in Malabar Hill, besides several of his cabinet colleagues like Pankaja Munde and Vinod Tawde, among others.
Shiv Sena leaders, including Uddhav Thackeray and Manohar Joshi, and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leaders Sandip Deshpande and others have also installed idols of Lord Ganesha at their residences.
Former union Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, former Chief Ministers Prithviraj Chavan, Narayan Rane and Ashok Chavan, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam and other leaders also worshipped Lord Ganesha at their homes.
As in the past, several Bollywood personalities like Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Nana Patekar, Reitesh Deshmukh, Govinda, Jeetendra, Shilpa Shetty, Shraddha Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Madhuri Dixit, Urmila Matondkar and Bappi Lahiri, among others, are organising glittering Ganeshotsav celebrations.
Marathi film industry bigwigs like Swapnil Joshi, Suyash Tilak, Shashank Ketkar, Aadesh Bandekar, Devdutta Nage, Ketaki Mategaonkar, Kranti Redkar, Kedar Shinde, Sharad Kelkar, Abhijit Khandekar, Prathima Behere and other celebs like Rakhi Sawant, Sambhavna Seth, Rohit Verma will also celebrate Ganeshotsav at their homes.
The day started all over the state with the “Kakad Aarti” performed in homes, public marquees and at the famed Siddhi Vinayak Temple in Prabhadevi, welcoming Lord Ganesha consecutively for the 125th year since the festival was initiated by freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak in Mumbai.
Lavish celebrations were underway at the famous and ancient Ashtavinayak Temples in Maharashtra dedicated to various forms of Lord Ganesha, all naturally evolved (swayambhu), with lakhs of pilgrims making a beeline to pray there since early hours.
These are: Mayureshwar Temple, Chintamani Temple, Girijatmaj Temple, Vigneshwar Temple, Mahaganpati Temple – all in Pune district, Ballaleshwar Temple and Varadavinayak Temple – both in Raigad district, and Siddhivinayak Temple in Ahmednagar.