Lord Ganesha who is considered to be the God of wisdom and prosperity has been worshiped right from the Vedic times. Every religious ceremony is completed even today with invoking his blessings at the very beginning with the solemn recitation of –
“ॐ गणेशाय नम:”
(Trans: I bow to Thee Lord Ganesha)
Pune being the birthplace of the Ganesh Festival, now celebrated all over India, has its own share of rich history. A few old Ganapati establishments hold importance over others during the immersion ceremony. And this year, due to the Corona Virus Pandemic, every Mandal is taking utmost care and following the safety guidelines. Public gatherings are being avoided and social distancing is being practiced wherever needed. Before listing down the 5 Manache Ganpati of Pune, let us dig deep into the history.
Ganesh Utsav, however was confined to the homes of the people and palaces of Maharajas since the days of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj until Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, initiated the concept of “Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav” and mobilized people through public Ganesh Festival. His motive was to unite people and strengthen the patriotic fervor in Indians. As a result, Hindus came together for the festival which became a source of political awakening against the British regime.
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The city has the five Manache Ganpati – The respected and honored Ganpati idols at different places. Let us know each of these five Manache Ganpati in Pune.
An idol of Lord Ganesha was found near the house of Vinayak Thakar, who used to reside close to the residence of Masaheb Jijabai Bhosale. The temple was built by Shivaji Maharaj & Jijabai Bhosale in the year 1639.
The immersion process at the end of the 10th day is led by Shri Kasba Ganpati. Only after the idols from this mandal are immersed can the other mandals begin theirs. The Mayor along with the Commissioner of Pune offer prayers and then kick start one of the best going away party in Pune.
Tambdi Jogeshwari is the temple of Goddess Durga who is regarded as the (ग्रामदेवी) patron deity of Pune City. Here the specialty is that, the statue of Lord Ganesha is immersed every year at the end of Ganesotsav and re-established again in the successive year.
Though the temple was built in 15th century, the statue of Goddess Durga is still intact. The Ganesh Idol was being established in the temple itself until the year 2000. Since 2000, a separate pendal is put before the temple and the idol is established in dome made of silver.
Guruji Talim is the 3rd respected Ganapati in Pune. It was first established in 1887 by two Hindu & Muslim families of Bhiku Shinde and Ustaad Nalban. This is the reason why Guruji Talim symbolizes Hindu-Muslim unity in Pune.
This Mandal was established way before Lokmanya Tilak started the Sarvajanik Ganesotsav; thus making them the first Mandal to celebrate their Platinum Jubilee.
Tulshibaug Ganpati is the 4th respected Ganapati in Pune. It was first established in 1901. This mandal holds the honor of establishing the first Glass Fiber statue since 1975. It is located in the heart and the most crowded part of the city.
The statue is 13 ft. tall and wear ornaments that weigh more than 80 kgs. Artist D.S. Khatawkar has been decorating the statue since years.
Kesariwada Ganapati is the 5th respected Ganapati in Pune. Since its inception in 1894, the Kesari Trust’s Ganesh festival used to be organised at Vinchurkar Wada, off Kumthekar Road, which was then the ancestral home of the Tilaks. Then in 1905, it was shifted to Gaikwad Wada, presently known as Kesariwada.
Mr. Dipak Tilak, who is the president of Kesari Trust says,
“We spend little on decorations and focus more on organizing various events like lectures, competitions that bring people together”
which is probably the main reason why the festival was started by Bal Tilak.