Photo credit: www.flickr.com user nimboo
This year, the visarjan, or ceremonial immersion that marks the end of Ganeshutsav was as always, a spectacular, joyous event.
Mumbai virtually closes down for the day to bid goodbye to its favorite deity. Security arrangements for the mammoth processions is a major concern for a city that lives in the shadow of terror. In a first this year, traffic police used vehicle-tracking technology to monitor the movement of about 50 processions from prominent Ganesh mandals.
Incessant rain (and hence, pot-holed roads) couldn’t stop thousands from singing and dancing through the streets, including one group of Thai revelers who are regular visitors at the Mumbai visarjan. Sadly, at one spot, an overcrowded balcony collapsed leaving one onlooker dead and several injured.
Dance Ganesh 2011 is a trendy, fun-filled visarjan for the young at heart, with DJs, electronic dance music, fire dancers and stilt walkers.
Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh)
This city in northern India celebrated Ganeshutsav with unusual fervor. For the visarjan, 560 idols were taken in procession to the holy Ganges River for immersion at Sarsaiya Ghat. Several all-women welfare organizations participated in the 10-day festival and were seen at the visarjan in large numbers, a departure from tradition in the usually male-dominated processions. One group of women pulled a ‘chariot’ bearing the idol to the river.
All over India, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare featured prominently in Ganeshutsav celebrations with a surge in demand for small Ganesha idols wearing Anna’s trademark headgear, the white topi.
Elsewhere in the world…
At Soar Valley Netball Centre, Leicestershire, UK, Hindu devotees bid goodbye to a 20 ft high idol that was shipped from India. The statue was taken to Liverpool for immersion in the River Mersey.
Hindu Indians in Dubai celebrate Ganeshutsav with as much fervor as in their native land, flocking to the temple in Bur Dubai, buying modaks and immersing their individual idols in the Arabian Sea.
Flushing, New York, is the place to be for witnessing a visarjan in the USA. The large scale Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at Maha Vallabha Ganapati Temple end with Ganesha leaving in a chariot accompanied by singing, dancing devotees as well as anyone looking for a bit of fun.