विसर्जन / Emotional Ganesh Visarjan

As per the tradition, Ganpati Visarjan or the ritualistic immersion of Lord Ganesh's idol is carried out either on the day after the Chaturthi or the seventh day or the tenth day. Most of the household Ganpati idols and some community ones too are immersed on the day after the Chaturthi.

During our Mumbai visit on this year's Ganesh Ustav, we got to experience the occasion of visarjan on the day following the Ganesh Chaturthi for the idols which are worshiped for one and a half days. We got to experience this occasion both on the streets and at a locale's residence.

We started the day by visiting the legendary Swami Samarth Sweet shop to relish puranpoli and shrikhand. From there we headed to Girgaon Chowpatty which is a major ocean front Visarjan site. But first we energized ourselves with some tea and chakli and visited the city's first community Ganpati pandal namely Keshavji Naik Mandal which was relatively empty. Soon after we joined one of our friends Jenil outside Girgaon Chowpatty who gave us an overview of the happenings taking place that day. He was also serving as a volunteer at the site. Filming wasn't allowed inside so we couldn't capture the humongous crowd with their respective idols at the seafront.

But we did experience the pulsating immersion processions outside the enclosure where Lord Ganpati is led to the visarjan site with huge fanfare. There were huge sound arrangements along with dhol and tashe. People were sad, emotional, spirited and even engrossed in dancing. One needs to experience it on their own to register the overwhelming vibe.

From there we headed to the residence of our gracious host the Jawle family to take part in their household Ganpati visarjan occasion. It was a very emotional moment for all of them as they prepared to lead their beloved Lord for visarjan after his brief stay for one and a half days. Although the timespan seems to be less, it was such a euphoric period which brought people together. This interaction with the lovely family was deeply enriching and emotional because stories and connections do to you.

Finally we reached the makeshift visarjan site where numerous people have gathered to immerse their idols in the artificial tanks. These tanks reduce the pollution load on the natural water bodies which were once the only places fro visarjan. With a heavy heart, teary eyes and an entreaty to come return soon the following year, people bid adieu to their beloved Lord. This visarjan experience did make us all feel empty but the notes of 'Ganpati Bappa Morya! Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya' brought back some of the spirit to carry on.

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