The Andhericha Raja is to the Mumbai suburbs what the Lalbaugcha Raja is to south Mumbai. The mandal was established in 1966 by the workers of the Tobacco company, Tata Special Steel and Excel Industries Ltd, who moved from Lalbaug to be closer to their factories.
Compared to many other famous mandals in Mumbai, the idol isnt as towering or imposing. However, it has a reputation for fulfilling wishes. The mandal also usually has a novel theme and other attractions, which have in the past included sand sculpture and a mela (carnival).
• Location: Veera Desai Road, Azad Nagar, Andheri (western Mumbai suburbs).
• Nearest Railway Station: Andheri.
• When to Visit: Evenings are busiest, however devotees have some extra time to see the God. The idol is the only one in Mumbai to be immersed on Sankashthi Day, which is a few days after Anant Chaturdashi (the last day of the festival when large idols are commonly immersed).
• 2014 Theme: Mysore Palace. Colorful pillars and eight chandeliers are highlights of the set.
The procession for the immersion starts out in the late afternoon and takes the following route: Azad Nagar II, Veera Desai Road, J P Road Amboli, S V Road, Andheri MarketNavrang Cinema-Sony Mony-Apna Bazar-Indian Oil Nagar Junction-Four Bungalows-Seven Bungalows-Versova Bus Depot, and finally to Versova village. It takes around 20 hours.
# 4 GSB SevaKings Circle
The GSB Seva Ganesh mandal is affectionately known as Mumbais gold Ganesh. Yes, thats pure gold its adorned with more than 60 kilograms of it! The mandal, often stated to be the richest in the city, was founded by the Gowd Saraswat Brahmin community from Karnataka in 1954. Theyve prospered in Mumbai, and as a mark of respect to the city they conduct various social programs along with a grand celebration of the Ganesh Festival.
The idol is always an eco-friendly one, made out of clay. The mandal is also distinctive because theres none of the usual recorded music there. Instead, traditional Indian musical instruments used in south Indian temples are played.
A convenient aspect of this mandal is that it has an elevated walkway set up to aid viewing of the idol.
• Location: G.S.B. Sports Club Ground, Near S.N.D.T. Womens College, R.A. Kidwai Road, Kings Circle, Matunga (central Mumbai).
• Nearest Railway Station: Kings Circle on the Harbour Line and Matunga on the Central Line.
• When to Visit: This Ganesh idol only stays for the first five days of the festival, so see it early.
• 2014 Theme: The mandal is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee (50th anniversary) this year. A 14 foot, classic vyjayanthimala garland has been made from big and small Ganpati idols, which features in the Mugdal Purana. It was carved in Karnataka from 2.5 kilograms of gold and 12 kilograms of silver, and is reportedly worth 96 lakh rupees.
The award winning Khetwadi Ganraj is considered to be one of the most spectacular Ganesh idols in Mumbai. The mandal was established in 1959 but found fame in 2000, when it made the highest Ganesh idol in Indian history, standing 40 feet tall. The idol is decked out in real gold jewelry. One year, it was even studded with real diamonds.
An added attraction when visiting the Khetwadi Ganraj is that theres a Ganesh idol in almost every lane in the area so youll have plenty to see!
• Location: 12th Lane Kehetwadi, Girgaum (south Mumbai).
• Nearest Railway Station: The nearest stations are Charni Road and Sandhurst Road.
• When to Visit: During the day is best. Peak time is in the evenings from dusk to midnight.
• 2014 Theme: The set design will be a multicolored navrang palace. The idol will wear a special crown studded with diamonds and intricate embroidery. It will only be 14 feet tall though, due to height restrictions that are in place.
#2 GaneshGalli Mumbaicha Raja
The Mumbaicha Raja, in Ganesh Galli (Lane), is located only a couple of lanes away from the Lalbaugcha Raja and is also very popular. It lost its shine to the Lalbaugcha Raja in the late 1990s but still pulls in the crowds.
The mandal is well known for its lavish new themes every year, often a replica of a famous place in India. It was formed for the benefit of the mill workers in 1928, making it the oldest one in the area.
• Location: Ganesh Galli (Lane), Lalbaug (central Mumbai).
• Nearest Railway Station: Chinchpokli, Curry Road, and Lower Parel railway stations are close by.
• Waiting Time: Can be as little as 20 minutes, or a few hours.
• When to Visit: Its always busy. Peak hours are in the afternoon and night from 3 p.m until 2 a.m.
• 2014 Theme: The set will resemble the ancient temple of Jejuri near Pune in Maharashtra. Local artisans have replicated work done by the original artisans. The 22 foot idol will be adorned with gilded hands and feet, and will wear a thick golden necklace.
The procession for the immersion (visarjan) on the last day of the festival starts out from 9.30 a.m. and takes the following route: Dr. S.S Rao Road, Ganesh Cinema, Chinchpokli Bridge, Arthur Road Corner, Saat Rasta, Sane Guruji Marg, Agreepada, Dr. Bhadkamkar Marg, Opera House, Willson Collage, Girgaon Chowpatty.
The Lalbaugcha Raja, King of Lalbaug, is undoubtedly the most famous Ganesh statue in Mumbai. The mandal was founded in 1934, and has grown to be the most visited one in the city. The Kambli family, of Kambli Arts, has been making the idol since 1935. Its legendary design is now patent protected.
If you want to see the lengths people are prepared to go to for devotion, the Lalbaugcha Raja is the idol to visit. It draws an average of 1.5 million people a day astonishing! People simply believe that this Ganesh idol can fulfill their wishes, and theres a lot of media attention on it.
There are two main lines to see the idol: a general line, and line for those wanting to make a vow or get a wish fulfilled (navas). The navas line takes devotees right to the idols feet, whereas the general line offers viewing (darshan) from a distance of around 10 meters away. Until recently, it was common for the navas line to stretch snake-like for over five kilometers. However the organizer has started providing huge air conditioned tents in the adjacent ground to accommodate everyone.
This year, Maharashtra Tourism will be running two air conditioned bus tours to visit popular Ganesh mandals in Mumbai, including the Lalbaugcha Raja. By special arrangement, guests wont be required to wait in line to see the idol.
• Location: Lalbaug market, GD Ambedkar Road, Lalbaug (central Mumbai).
• Nearest Railway Station: Walking distance from Lower Parel, Curry Road, and Chinchpolki stations.
• Waiting Time: Can be 20 hours or more in the navas line. General line takes around five hours.
• When to Visit: Its open around the clock. However, the busiest time is in the evening until midnight.
The procession for the immersion (visarjan) starts out at 10 a.m. from the Lalbaug market on the final day of the festival, and takes the following route: Lalbaug, Bharat Mata Theatre, Lalbaug, Sane Guruji Marg, Byculla Railway Station, Clare Road, Nagpada, Dunkan Road, Don Taki, Sant Sena Maharaj Marg (Kumbharwada), Suthar Gully, Madhav Baug, C.P. Tank, V.P. Road, Opera House, Girgaon Chowpatti.