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The Vaishnodevi Experience 2023

My first trip to Vaishnodevi was unimpressive. Climbing was hard, and it only served to highlight how badly out of shape I was, while my in-laws managed to cope so much better. Further, I hadn’t quite realized that the cave experience wouldn’t be the same as I had imagined, since the original cave was only opened at certain times a year, and that we only entered a newly created tunnel, one far easier to access, and hence more manageable with the crowds that thronged the mountain shrine. The resulting experience at the shrine, for barely a fraction of a second, hardly compared to what I had expected / imagined / heard about. So, for me, Vaishnodevi was like any other temple, nothing to write home about, something that was reflected (though not explicitly mentioned) in the blog post I wrote then.

Visiting the Matunga Ganpatis

Matunga is a place closely associated with South Indians living in Mumbai. I remember braving the train crowds as a child, visiting Matunga to see the Ganpatis, and especially the serial lights strung up all along the roads. I was then brought here by my uncle. Later, as I studied at Ruia College, I no longer needed anyone to accompany me. The ten days of the festival used to be busy ones for me, as I explored every lane looking for some interesting Ganeshas or at least some interesting decorations. Time has moved swiftly since then, and now, I take Samhith along to show him the Ganeshas I have enjoyed watching for so many years! 

We headed towards Matunga yesterday evening, and over 4 hours, managed to see quite a few. Some were simple, some elaborate, but we enjoyed watching all of them. Even the fact that we spent almost 2 of those 4 hours  in a bus, stuck in traffic did not deter us in our enjoyment! Come along with me as I re-live the Matunga Ganpati experience.....

Our favourite - the flower market Ganesha

This one wasnt the main idol,
but the smaller one used for the puja.
We loved it though! 

The Pramanik Ganesha was celebrating 50 Years!

Once called commonly the 'Varadarajan Ganpati',
the story  got Samhith interested in this simple idol!
(For those who dont know , this Ganpati was started by a local don!)

Yes, there is no Ganpati here, but this arrangement was in front of the Ganesha above.
What you can see are thin  threads strung between two posts,
and water trickles down them, giving the appearance of a water curtain!

The main ganesha was simple,
but surrounded by such beautiful specimens in brass!

The Ganpati outside Ruia.... with its message below..
The common man's trials and tribulations from Pre-Independence to now!

Another depiction of Samarth Ramdas and Shivaji

Finally, one of the richest Ganpatis in Mumbai - GSB Wadala
And yes, all that glitters is gold here!!
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  1. Lovely .. It must have been a wonderful sight..!

  2. Oh yes, it was! the ganpatis are the same every year, but we still love to go and see them!

  3. Reminds me of our Durga Puja, visiting many pandals.
    Great glimpses. :)

  4. There is a lot to be see and enjoy here during the festival season Anu. Your  enthusiasm in capturing the events braving the crowd and rain etc. is great. Love all Ganeshas thanks.

  5. Oh Yes, Team G Square!! we really look forward to this one!

  6. They are always very elaborate, Pradeepa! the decorations change from year to year... earlier, the flower market ganpati used to be entirely made of flowers, but the result used to be different every time!

  7. Yes, Indrani! I guess its our equivalent of the Durga Puja!

  8. Chitra, this is probably the biggest festival celebrated here, rich and poor alike... in spite of getting commercialized, its still a wonderful experience!

  9. I reached your blog while surfing through the net and enjoyed reading the posts. I used to live near Matunga before I moved post marriage and this post brought back so many memories. Thanks for all the pictures. I always miss Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Mumbai and although late, this post made me miss my Mumbai that bit less

  10. Thanks so much! glad i could bring the festival closer to you...... and hope you keep coming back here for more :)

  11. hi 
    next time please visit Anmol Group Ganeash Utsav, its in Shankar Mattham Lane

  12. Sure, Chirag... i guess I would have seen it sometime... just havent noticed the name!


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