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'Peshwa Mahal' to mark golden jubilee of festival

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
By Raju Vernekar

Shri Datta Mandir Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, which has entered its 50th year this year, has erected the magnificent 17th century 'Peshwa Mahal', a palace of the Peshwas, in Thakurdwar, Girgaum in South Mumbai.

The palace is totally made up of wood with a wooden arch and intricate designs spread over 45 ft in length and 14 ft in height. It has many gates with designs carved on them to signify the reign of Peshwas, who were the equivalent of a modern prime minister in the Maratha empire. The mandal has made decoration material from recycled material and has been celebrating the festival in an eco-friendly way.

The Datta Mandir complex, founded in 1872, with Shiva, Hanuman Mandir and Kartik Swami temples, is 147-year-old and is known as 'Swayambhu Mandir'. Over 800 devotees visit the temple every day. The residents began celebrating Ganesh festival in 1969. It has been erecting huge replicas of different temples in India.

This year the festival will be inaugurated with 'lezim' performance in which 14-year-old girls to 75-years-old grandmothers will participate, Subodh Ekbote, one of the oldest tenants, said adding that many rituals, including 'Havans', will be organised throughout the seven days.  A 'Maha Prasad' will be organised on the last day.

“We began with a 5-day festival, which was gradually extended to seven days. During silver jubilee celebrations we had erected the famous 'Saheliyon Ki Bari', from Udaipur, Rajasthan, 72-year-old Avdhoot Samel, one of oldest members of the festival said.

President of the festival, Atul VedPathak, said that there are 60 tenants in the chawl, who not only bear the entire expenses of the festival but also play a vital role in the celebration, because practically every household shares the responsibility right from the arrival of Ganesh to immersion. Our festival can be certainly described as total 'co-operative effort'. We also organise blood donation camps and free diagnosis health camps throughout the year”, he added.

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