Finally the last post of the 3 posts series, It gives me a great pleasure to be able to share my experiences and photographs of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.[ You can find the previous posts here ]
This post, once again is about a personal experience about my visit to Mumbai’s largest GaneshVisarjan ceremonies at the Girgaum (Marine Drive) Chowpatty. Although the Visarjans takes place at many other locations across Mumbai- the largest and most famous of the idols make it here, including LalBaugCha Raja.[Don’t miss the video at the end of the post]
So in case if you couldn’t make it to the main temple for LalBaugCha Raja, you have one more chance to get His ‘Darshan’ here.
The trip to the Visarjans were a completely unplanned and a last minute one and had it not for one of our senior colleagues Sujoy da, we couldn’t have experienced the epic end to this one grand festival.
Once again I have to thank Saikat – this time apart from the diary writing bug – I have used two of his photographs in this post ( with due credits 😉 )
So reading out from the pages of my diary – this time the Visarjans.
September 22 (Wednesday)
Sept 22 – 8 pm – Today we had a full day shift in office – means, we would be staying till next day early morning for some production movement ( For those not from IT – please ignore this :P)
I wanted to visit the Visarjans badly, but without anyone accompanying I had to dump the plan.
Sept 22 – 10 pm – With most of the work scheduled for early morning on way to completion, Sujoy da decided to visit the Visarjans and it was a no brainer for the three of us. For Saikat and Samir this was their last chance of getting a glimpse of the kingly LalBaugCha Raja.
By the way – an update about the location – We were visiting Girgaum (Marine Drive) Chowpatty. The nearest railway station – Charni Road, was almost a little more than an hour from our current location Turbhe.
But things did not go so well and it turned out to be a pretty long night with a host of unexpected and unpleasant events.
Spoiler Alert !!!
Well if you are just interested in the Visarjan part you can skip this portion – but trust me who I wouldn’t want to miss a dose of suspense and thrill in the midst of a festive night.
Skip to Visarjans or Read on 🙂
September 23 (Thursday) – the long eventful night
Sept 23 – 12.30 am – As the event was unplanned, I was not carrying my camera with me. So I rushed home, packed in my cam along with Saikat’s one and rushed back to the office and here we were ready to start.
Sept 23 – 12.50 am – Thanks to our autowala, we missed the last train from Shanpada railway station( Shanpada is kind of a junction from where we could get trains to other lines of the Mumbai Railways)
Sept 23 – 1.15 am – We were now standing at the Shanpada bus stand on the Bombay-Pune highway, waiting for a bus to CST (Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus) /Dadar. After a long wait we finally got a shuttle – a brand new Xylo 😀 (my first shuttle ride in Mumbai in almost 3 months)
The route –
We will be taking the shuttle to Ghatkopar ( Central Line ) and from there a train to Dadar and finally a train from Dadar to Charni Road – the closest we can get by train to Girgaum Chowpatty.
Well that was just the plan. But as I said previously nothing went as per the plan :(
Sept 23 – 1.40 am – The shuttle driver tried his best, but we missed again by a whisker. The last train from Ghatkopar left a few minutes back. This leaves only one option for us. Spend the night at the station and take the first train ( at 4.20 am) to Dadar.
We found ourselves a place to sit. While Samir and Sujoy da went out to explore the place and look for some food, we ( me and saikat) stayed inside.
Sept 23 – 3.40 am – In the last one hour, we were mainly sitting on the empty police helpdesk we found. I was sitting on the table while Saikat sat on the bench sleeping with his head on the table.
Most of the time I was there itself except for 10 minutes I had went out for food.
Suddenly Saikat jumped out.
There was a slit on his jeans pocket and his mobile was missing and there was a strange looking guy sitting next to him.
Going by his looks, all our suspicion was on him. We openly challenged him, but he wouldn’t comply and insisted we visit a police chowky – which was something out of a fairytale in this middle of the night.
But we were still searching and suddenly out of the blue this guy jumped on the rail tracks through a tiny gap between the station railings and ran like … I think he could defeat Bolt.
Nevertheless we chased. We were now 500 % sure that he had the mobile. But finally after a furious sprint we had to give up as he disappeared in the darkness of the railway yards.
We were not ready for this at all. This was a bad start to the final league of our journey.
Sept 23 – 4.20 am – The sun was yet to rise and amongst all the darkness around, the only light was from that of the first train entering the station. Thankfully this train would take us directly to Charni Road and so we don’t need to change trains at Dadar.
Positive energy is infectious ( and so is negative energy)
Sept 23 – 5.00 am – Finally at Charni Road. Once again looked like all of Mumbai had poured into this place. Positive energy is infectious ( and so is negative energy) and we couldn’t help but leave behind all of the bad memories from last night and immerse ourselves into the stream of positivity that thronged the place.
(Check out the photo below with a bunch of random guys :P)
Visarjans – the Final Lap
Sept 23 – 5.15 am – A brisk walk from the station brought us face to face with the maddening crowd. We had to extremely careful here.
Any wrong step could result in the triggering of a stampede.
We moved forward inch by inch sandwiched between the crowds as we could see the huge Ganesha idols moving besides us at a distance.
And just when I thought everything was going fine, the row in front of me toppled as there was a step down and soon we were all falling on each other.
and soon we were all falling on each other
We somehow pushed ourselves out of the crowd on to the open road. Major disaster averted !!!
Sept 23 – 5.45 am – I was now detached from the others as I moved forwards towards the sea to get a closer look. It was a feeling of happiness and joy somewhat clouded by a feeling of loss and grief. It was similar to the feelings every bong shares on Dashami – the last day of Durga Puja.
Nevertheless “ asche bochor abar hobe” ( Coming year we will have it again)
I was standing a few metres away from the LalBaugCha Raja. The ornaments were opened one by one as the priests were performing the final Arati.
The idol was put on the boats ( reminded me of the Durga idol immersions in the Ganges ) and slowly marched towards the deep oceans.
Devotees clapped, splashed water from all sides chanting “Ganpati Bappa Mourya” as the Lord marched towards the final journey.
Don’t miss the video below
( Please watch in HD)
Once again it was a long way back home and to make things a little on the worse side it did not end with just the ‘theft’ of Saikat’s mobile as I lost my watch on our way back home 🙁 ( A longiness – although a fake one, but you couldn’t tell the difference 😉 )
Well first the Dahi Handi – then LalBaugCha Raja and now the Visarjans – what an action packed month !!!
Truly I couldn’t have visited Mumbai at a better time 🙂
Incredible Mumbai !!! Incredible India !!!