A very warm welcome to Neha Tambe who is a digital marketer and a writer . Her post is a superb narrative of her Pandal Hopping journey at the recent Ganesh Chaturthi festivities in Pune. You will particularly enjoy the photographs accompanying the article. You can catch her blog here.
I love India and its cultural depth. Don’t assume I troll everyone who thinks otherwise, I just think that we have a rich heritage to explore and we are not doing justice to it. I prefer doing a bit of research about every place that we are visiting and tell my kids in story form the historical and cultural importance of that place. Also the fact that our history books can’t cover everything, I think doing it this way, gives my children a rich outlook.
This time around Ganesh Chaturthi, I realized my children are yet to explore Pune! Anybody who has been to Pune knows that ‘Ganesh Utsav’ is special for a Puneite. Mumbai is known for the sheer size at which Ganesh Festivals are celebrated, but Pune is known for its cultural essence. My daughter was super-excited about Ganesh festival this year and wanted to go around Pandal hopping.
This year’s Ganesh Chaturthi was extra- special for Pune. This was the 125th year of ‘Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav’. Lokmanya Tilak, (the father of Indian unrest) started the system of public pandals for Ganesh Utsav. The idea was to bring people together and motivate them to fight against the Britishers. I grabbed this opportunity to show by children a bit of culture and history. We decided to visit the 5 Manache Ganapati ( 5 most respected Ganapati Pandals) of Pune. During Ganesh Festival these pandal areas are closed for traffic and you have to walk to cover all the places.
Kasba Ganapati is the presiding deity (gram-daivat) of Pune. It is the 1st Manacha Ganapati and the aristocracy of Pune – Bhosale’s and Peshwa’s worshipped at this temple. During Ganesh festival a make-shift pandal is erected and the idol is kept there for 10 days. Our first stop was here. This is right opposite to Shaniwarwada. This year there was a craze of clicking selfies with Bappa (as Ganapati is lovingly called in Maharashtra)
Tambdi- Jogeshwari Ganapati
This is the second manacha Ganapati in Pune. Tambdi-Jogeshwari is considered the ‘Gram-devata’ of Pune and people from all walks of life come to worship at the Jogeshwari temple all year round.
This is the third most important Ganapati in Pune
This is the fourth most important Ganapati. Both Guruji Talim and TulshiBaug are close to the shopping hubs of Pune. As this is in a crowded place, I couldn’t get a decent picture of the deity.
This is the fifth most important Ganapati. It is here that history was written, when first Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav was celebrated by Lokmanya Tilak. I got goosebumps looking at the murals and paintings at the Kesari-wada
Shrimant DagaduShet Ganapati
This ganapati is not in the revered 5, but is equally important for a Puneite. This pandal is also the richest Ganapati Pandal in Pune. Look at the intricate work on the pandal. Stunning pandal’s are the hallmark of Dagadushet Ganapati.
Hutatma Babu Genu Pandal
This one is just behind Dagadushet Ganapati and are known for interesting pandal creations. This year they had created a replica of ‘Angkor Wat’ Temple Cambodia.
Usually Ganesh Festivals mean crowds, loud music & extravaganza, however this year was different. All these and surrounding pandals that we visited had consciously made a few changes.
- There was no music or only devotional music in low volumes.
- The expense was only to make the pandal’s beautiful.
- There was constant effort to keep things organized and ensure that there is minimum hassle to the public visiting.
- They tried to give a message – swatch bharat and respect women, were being reiterated through banners and rangolis
At the end of the day, I was happy that my children learned something new and saw first hand, the fact that ‘Desh badal raha hai’
This guest post was written for my blog to participate in the month-long birthday celebrations as its turned one as a self hosted blog.