A tryst with Pandal hopping [ #Guestpost ]

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

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)

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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.

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Guruji Talim

This is the third most important Ganapati in Pune

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TulshiBaug Ganapati

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.

KesariWada

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

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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.

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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.

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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
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(Don’t harass women and assume you will get away with it. The day she decides to fight back, she won’t spare anyone) rough translation of what is written in Marathi.

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.

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Passionate about everything design, I am in love with photography, travel and baking. My writing journey was initiated with my letter writing hobby as a child and has metamorphosised into serious blogging. I indulge with reading fantasy fiction, day dreaming and sipping good wine.

12 thoughts on “A tryst with Pandal hopping [ #Guestpost ]

  1. You took me back to my college days when we used to visit numerous Durga Pooja pandas. The way the old streets were decorated and lighted at night was something I can’t forget. Indeed, kids should see what it’s like to celebrate these festivals in true sense and know about history too. Wonderful post and great pictures.

  2. I am a native born Puneite but have never seen these pandals ( I live in Mumbai now ) but your post has inspired me to spend Ganesh Utsav in Pune next year. I too love visiting Ganesh pandals but not if it means standing in a line

  3. I’ve heard a lot about Ganesh festival of Mumbai seems Pune have the same energy. I’ve wish to attend this at least once Look like a calm and cool environment over there seems you enjoyed a lot

  4. Pandal concept is very simple here in Hyderabad it is not lavish. I heard from a friend of mine that pandal hopping on the eve of ganesh chaturti in Pune and during durga pooja in Kolkata are something one should not miss!

Share your thoughts with me on this post please