If you’re new to the city, or your brain has just wiped the memories of just how chaotic the festival season can be in Mumbai, we’re here to help. Read on for our handy beginner’s guide to Ganesh Chaturthi, including important dates and the city’s biggest attractions.
Let’s skip straight to the must-know dates – the dry days. The next couple of weeks have a couple in store, so load up on the alcohol in advance. On Monday, September 12, and Thursday, September 15, expect to get turned away from bars because of Bakri Id and Anant Chaturdashi.
The one and a half day immersions are on Tuesday, September 6; the three day Visarjan is on Wednesday, September 7; the five-day Visarjan is on Friday, September 9; the seven day Visarjan is on Sunday, September 11, and Anant Chaturdashi is on Thursday, September 15.
What do all these dates mean? These are the days which will be worst for traffic, for those looking to enjoy a quiet moment at home, or concentrate at office. We say be ready with the noise-cancelling headphones on these dates. Especially Anant Chaturdashi – this is the biggest day of the festival and you can expect millions of people on the streets.
Lalbaugcha Raja is the biggest Ganesh pandal in town. This procession will begin on the last day of the festival, and wind its way to the following points: Lalbaug, Bharat Mata Theatre, Lalbaug, Sane Guruji Marg, Byculla Railway Station, Clare Road, Nagpada, Dunkan Road, Don Taki, Sant Sena Maharaj Marg, Suthar Gully, Madhav Baug, C.P. Tank, V.P. Road, Opera House and Girgaon Chowpatti.
You can visit if you’re brave enough, but be prepared to stand more than five hours if you’re waiting for some blessings.
Where: Lalbaug market, GD Ambedkar Road, Lalbaug
This year’s theme for this pandal has a replica of the Badrinath Temple, one of the Char Dham in Uttarakhadnd. This immercian will start on the last day of the festival and cover the following points: Dr. S.S Rao Road, Ganesh Cinema, Chinchpokli Bridge, Arthur Road Corner, Saat Rasta, Sane Guruji Marg, Agreepada, Dr. Bhadkamkar Marg, Opera House, Willson College and Girgaon Chowpatty.
Devotees or interested folk can expect a waiting time of two to three hours, and peak times continue from 3pm to 2am.
Where: Central Mumbai
This Ganesh idol is only present for the first half of the festivities, so go check it out early. Don’t expect too much glitz and glamour though – they’ve decided to keep it simple this year.
You can visit via the Kings Circle train station, and also drop by the food stalls which are open in the evenings for some tasty Maharashtrian snacks.
Where: G.S.B. Sports Club Ground, Near S.N.D.T. Women’s College, R.A. Kidwai Road, King’s Circle, Matunga\
‘Burbies, don’t feel left out of the action. Andhericha Raja covers the following points: Azad Nagar II, Veera Desai Road, J P Road Amboli, S V Road, Andheri Market, Navrang Cinema, Sony Mony, Apna Bazar, Indian Oil Nagar Junction, Four Bungalows, Seven Bungalows, Versova Bus Depot, and finally to Versova village.
Evenings can be very busy. The procession for the immersion is on September 19, and will start at 5pm. This is the only idol to be immersed on this day, five days after Anant Chaturdashi.
Where: Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri West