Lalbaugcharaja is the Mumbais favorite Ganapati. Year after year devotees throng to get a glimpse of the huge Ganapati idol in Lalbaug,Mumbai. Witnessing a darshan queue as long as 4-5 km is not unusual. It is believed that by praying to the Lalbaugcha Raja one’s wishes will be fulfilled. The main attraction here is a golden crown of two kg, golden bracelets and other gold ornaments.
This year we thought of going to lalbaug to see the Ganapati and chose to go in the night to avoid the crowd. We reached the Ganapati at 11 in the night expecting to back within an hour only to find a long queue. It took us a good twenty-five minutes to find the end of the queue where we could join. Looking at the length of the queue it looked as if was impossible to get the darshan before 5:00 in the morning.
There are two queues
1. Mukhadarshan — You can see the idol from a distance
2. Darshan — Where you get to go near the Stage
We joined the first. I was told for the later one had to stand in the queue for around 22 hrs before getting the darshan. Even before I saw the Ganapati I was amazed, amazed at the crowd that had gathered there. One could hardly feel it was nearly twelve in the night. The place was crowded with all kinds of people including kids. It was nothing less of a mela(a fair). Apart from people selling photos of Lalbaugcharaja, flowers and coconut to offer the god, there were lots of people selling vada pav,dosa, chips,cold-drinks and everything you could think of in a fun fair. All these were open(and crowded) even at 2:00 in the night!!!
We were lucky that the queue moved pretty fast. The organisers and the police had taken enough measures to handle the crowd. We finally got the darshan at 1:45 am and it was awesome. Though I didn’t expect the darshan to be that far from the idol, it was a great experience. It was indeed a treat watching the Lalbaugcharaja and an awesome Vada pav after that makes all the effort worth it. We did also visit some other Ganapati mandals before reaching home at 6:00 in the morning and I loved them too. But if there is an award that must go to the Mumbai spirit and the people coz if it was not for the watch that I was wearing I would have hardly realised that I was roaming around at that ungodly hours in the night.