The Ganpati festival spans for 11 days, the 11th day being the immersion day. The balance ten days are very active days with arthi being performed inviting the near and dear ones including dinner. The Ganesh idols kept at mandals attract large number of devotees for darshan as well as arthi daily. In some mandals like Lal Bhageecha in Mumbai, the contributions from the devotees exceed the imaginations. The devotees numbering nearer to a million exhibit high restraint in waiting for hours in the queue for a momentary darshan of the Lal Bhageecha Raja. The contributions from these devotees are used for certain welfare schemes like building hospitals, education to children, etc.
In other parts of the city, there is a kind of indirect competition in decorating the pandals as well as the streets with generous donations from traders and the societies/residents. There are societies which use this season to conduct some competitions among children and encourage them to display their abilities/talents. There are many cultural programmes also.
Well, having spent 10 full days, the devotees prepare their idols for the immersion. They carry the idols weighing in tons on motorised vehicles and take them on a procession in the colony before immersing either in the sea or in a lake whichever is nearby. The bands on the day are busiest with very advanced booking as the devotees like to dance to their tunes all the way to the immersion point. There are devotees who exhibit their love by dressing in traditional attire and entertaining all others.
It’s a custome that the idol should not be kept either in the house or in the pandal and must compulsorily be immersed. The number of Ganesh idols are in hundreds and the immersion starts sometime in the evening on 11th day and goes till mid-night. Here are a few pictures of such immersion. Ganpati Bappa Mourya!