“Lalbaugcha Raja”will be missed in 2020 due to pandemic. This is a first in Lalbaugcha Raja’s 87-year history.
Lalbaghcha Raja was established in 1934 and since then Ganeshotsav is celebrated here with great solemnity . In 2019 about 1.25 crore Ganesh devotees visited the King of Lalbagh and offered up to 9 crore rupees to Lord Ganesh. The statue of Raja of Lalbagh is approximately 14 feet high every year, which is the biggest attraction of Ganesh festival in Mumbai.
The officials have decided to not celebrate the Ganesh festival this year. For a change they will be celebrating as a health festival.This decision has been taken after looking at the statistics of COVID-19 in Maharashtra . Therefore the 10 days of festival , They have decided to organise a blood donation camp and an awareness camp to promote plasma donation. Also they have decided to felicitate the families of policemen and army-men who gave their lives for the country.
Sudhir Salvi, secretary of the Lalbaug Mandal is donating Rs 25 lakh to the Chief Minister‘s Fund for fighting the pandemic. He also added that there will be no Ganesh idol, otherwise people will throng to see it as the idol at Lalbaug in Parel area of Mumbai and most others in the city is a crowd-puller in the annual festival.
Santosh Kambli of Kambli Arts, which has been designing the towering Lalbaugcha Raja idol for four generations, said that Wednesday’s decision was taken at a teary-eyed meeting at Peru Chawl.But he also said that this a decision taken in the interest of people’s well- being.
If there was a chance of keeping an Ganesh idol , the mandal could have stopped people from visiting the idol but no one can stop the devotees once the visarjan period comes. As the visarjan duration of Lalbaugcha Raja is accurately 24 hours . The gathering of people and also the police force can increase the number of COV-19 patients.
Therefore for the safety of every Mumbaikar and the outsiders this year the Mandal have decided not to celebrate the Ganesh Festival.