Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja Makes a Comeback, Ganeshotsav to be Held in Traditional Manner With Covid Curbs

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Seated on a grand throne in South Mumbai market for the last 93 years, Lord Ganesha — popularly known as Lalbaugcha Raja or King of Lalbaug — will witness celebration of Ganesh Utsav in a traditional manner this year adhering to all Covid-19 related guidelines &restrictions.

Last year, a blood and plasma donation camp was organised in place of Ganesh Mahotsav celebrations due to rising number of coronavirus cases in Mumbai.

Last year, the board had decided to hold a health camp for 11 days. This year’s Ganeshotsav idol installation and immersion ceremony will be celebrated as a health festival from Ganesh Chaturthi to Anant Chaturdashi, the mandal had said.

It was replaced by a small idol of around 3-4 feet for the traditional ‘puja’ and other ceremonies.

Every year, millions of devotees, including celebrities, visit the famed pandal of Lalbaughcha Raja where over a 15-feet-tall idol of Lord Ganesha is set up. The festival witnesses donations in crores, including gold and silver ornaments being offered to the ‘King of Lalbaug’.

During Ganeshotsav, the pandal sees 80,000 to 1 lakh people in a day.

Last year, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had called for low-key Ganpati celebrations in view of Covid-19, and urged mandals to undertake social welfare programmes. The 10-day festival begins on August 22.

Thackeray, who held a review meeting, had said the threat of coronavirus was not over, so it would not be possible to celebrate the festival with usual grandeur. He had said there should be no crowding or processions.

The Indian Medical Association President has suggested the government not to allow people to celebrate any kind of festival because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Several scientists and doctors have credited Kumbh Mela as the catalyst for the devastating second Covid-19 wave in the country.

Now as the fear of the third Covid-19 wave looms, doctors have urged the Centre to prevent such massive gatherings and take actions before its too late.

Maharashtra on Saturday reported 225 fresh Covid-19 fatalities and 6,959 cases while 7,467 patients recovered, a health official said. With the new additions, the tally of infections in Maharashtra reached 63,03,715 and the death toll to 1,32,791. The count of recoveries now stands at 60,90,786, leaving the state with 76,755 active cases, he said. On Saturday, Maharashtra witnessed a marginal rise in fresh coronavirus positive cases compared to Thursday when the state added 6,600 new cases to its tally and 231 fatalities.

According to the official, among the 225 fatalities, the highest number of 61 deaths were reported from Kolhapur and Aurangabad regions, followed by 35 fatalities from the Nashik region.

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