As Mumbai prepares for Ganesh Chaturthi, Ganapati Mandals have been ramping up security and insurance, with some places insuring their idols for as much as Rs. 300 crore. The GSB Seva Mandal in Wadala, which bought the 300-crore-insurance, has an eleven-foot idol, with gold plated hands, adorned with silver and gold jewellery and is the richest mandal this year.
Outside Lalbaughcha Raja, the most popular Ganesh mandal in the city, devotees have already started lining up a day before the festivities just to get a glimpse of the idol. The mandal has bought an insurance of 51 crores, most of which, for obvious reasons, is allocated to welfare of devotees,
“We insure every aspect of the Mandal. There is a separate insurance for the gold and silver ornaments worn by the idol. Insurance amount is set aside for devotees who come to offer their prayers as well as the volunteers and also keeping in mind natural disasters and in case fires break out,” said Mahesh Jadhav, treasurer of Lalbaughcha Raja.
Smaller mandals are not taking a chance either, with some like the Ganesh Gully in Parel buying an insurance of Rs. 5.5 crore. “With gold prices rising each year, we have had to adjust our insurance amount accordingly. We have been increasing it each year,” said Swapnil Parab, the Secretary at Ganesh Gully.
Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated widely in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra. Every year, people from across western India congregate in Mumbai to take part in the celebrations and visit the puja pandals, many of which, like the Lalbaughcha Raja, are being organised for several years.
“I am from Surat and have been waiting in this queue since 4 am for Darshan”, said 36 year old Hardik Joshi who travels to Mumbai every year to take part in the festivities.
This year India will celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi from the 5th to 15th of September.