Instead of installing the Ganesh idol, the Lalbaughcha Raja Ganesh Mandal has decided to set up a blood and plasma donation camp for 11 days in the area this year
For the first time in 93 years, Lord Ganesh will not be seen in Mumbai’s famous Lalbaug as the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav Mandal has decided not to hold any festivity on Ganesh Chaturthi due to COVID-19.
"We are cancelling the celebrations this year. Instead, we will utilise the 11 days to organise blood donation and plasma donation activities. The next Ganesh Chaturthi celebration will be in September 2021 for Lalbaugcha Raja," Sudhir Sitaram Salvi, part of the Lalbaugcha Raja organising committee told Moneycontrol.
While several Ganpati mandals in Mumbai have decided to hold the festival in February 2021 during Magh Chaturthi, the organisers of Lalbaugcha Raja have decided to completely cancel the Ganeshotsav 2020 till September 9, 2021, i.e. until the next year's Ganesh Chaturthi.
The reason for not doing it during Magh Chaturthi is because most volunteers at Lalbaugcha Raja are college youth who will get busy as final year examinations are held across colleges in Mumbai in February.
The decision has been taken by in the wake of the rising COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, where the tally has hit 1,74,761 with Mumbai being the biggest contributor.
Lalbaugcha Raja or King of Lalbaug is among the most popular and most visited Ganesh idols in Mumbai. Every year, millions of devotees, including celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shilpa Shetty Sonu Sood, Ajay Devgn and others visit the famed pandal of Lalbaughcha Raja to get blessings of the deity.
Every day, 80,000 to 1 lakh people visit the pandal. During the festival, devotees offer donations in crores, including gold and silver ornaments being offered to the 'King of Lalbaug', as per the report.
In June, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called for a simple and low-key Ganpati festival celebration this year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic and asked Ganesh mandals to undertake social welfare programmes.
Thackeray said the threat of coronavirus is not yet over and therefore, it will not be possible to celebrate the Ganesh festival with the usual pomp and gaiety. He said there should be no crowding or processions during the festival.
During a video conference with various Ganesh mandals, Thackeray asked them to set an example before the world about celebrating the festival in a simple way while keeping in mind their social responsibility.
Ganeshotsav is the most popular festival in Maharashtra. The pandals set up by various mandals in Mumbai and other places in the state attract thousands of devotees during the festivity.
The 10-day festival begins on 'Ganesh Chaturthi', which falls on August 22 this year.Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.