Humongous crowds thronged the stalls selling idols , decorative items, lighting accessories, and flowers since morning as many wanted to install the idol of Lord Ganesha between early morning and 1.30pm— the time frame considered most auspicious for performing pujas and other rituals. Citizens in large numbers flocked to the sweet shops to buy the much-in demand ‘modak’—offered to Lord Ganesh as ‘prasad’— among other items.
A host of religious ceremonies were performed at Sansthan Ganapati—revered as the local diety—in the presence of political leaders from Shiv Sena and BJP. A Ganesh idol was also installed in Aurangabad Ganesh Mahasangh, the apex body of different mandals in the city.
Businessman Amrut Patel said that his daughter carved an idol out of shaadu that was an added attraction this time. “Our whole family performs the rituals and customs associated with this festival throughtout these 11 days,” said Patel.
Mandals which promised grand celebrations from day one of the festival illuminated the pandals with attractive lighting before performing the installation ceremony. Attractive processions were carried out with chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Moraya’ reverberating in the air.
A special floating replica of Ganesh made in a farm-pond by a local group led by Vilas Korde and his associates from Khirdi village in Khuldabad taluka—around 20 kilometre from here— has garnered a lot of attention. Nearly 40 feet by 70 feet in size, the replica is made of fiber moulds and plastic cans which have been laden with mud and different shrubs, creepers and ornamental plants.
Police have stepped up bandobast in the city with traffic restrictions prevailing over a few market areas on a temporary basis to streamline movement of crowd.
Meanwhile, many rural parts in Marathwada are praying that Lord Ganesh blesses the region with adequate rainfall as the region has not received any showers durig the first half of this month due to the dry spell of monsoon.
Subhash Zabduke, a farmer-businessman from Ghatnandur in Beed district, said he prayed Ganesh brought with himself the return of monsoon. “The dry run of monsoon is on for more than three weeks and our crops are in distress. Let us hope Ganesh blesses the region with good rainfall,” said Ghatnandur.