Mumbai: Over 10,000 Ganesh idols at Latur in Marathwada region won’t be immersed on the visarjan day this year due to acute water shortage in the town, local officials said. A senior official said there is ‘not even a drop of water‘ in the usual six spots in Latur where the Ganesh idols, both public and domestic, are immersed each year.
Latur district Collector G Shrikant told that the decision to skip the immersion process is the result of public awareness and was finalised after review meetings of the Ganesh mandals in the city. “This decision is not solely due to water scarcity. The big mandals were reusing the idols for the last three to four years. It is a collective decision of the mandals,” he said.
The municipal corporation has made facilities for storage of idols in temples, the IAS official said. “If they can be reused and recycled, that will be the best way to overcome the water scarcity,” Shrikant added. “We have asked people to perform the visarjan of domestic idols at home like Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis did at his official Varsha bungalow. I will be doing the same,” he said.
A local historian in Latur, which is around 500 km from Mumbai, said this will be the first time in over a century that the Ganesh idols in the city won’t be immersed.
Ganesh Chaturthi, which falls in the months of August or September of the Gregorian calendar, is marked with the installation of Ganesha clay idols privately in homes, or publicly on elaborate pandals (temporary stages). Observations include chanting of Vedic hymns and Hindu texts such as, prayers and brata (fasting). Offerings and prasadam from the daily prayers, that are distributed from the pandal to the community, include sweets such as modaka as it is believed to be a favorite of Lord Ganesh. The festival ends on the tenth day after start, when the idol is carried in a public procession with music and group chanting, then immersed in a nearby body of water such as a river or sea.
In Mumbai alone, around 150,000 statues are immersed annually. Thereafter, the clay idol dissolves and Ganesha is believed to return to Mount Kailash to Parvati and Shiva. The festival celebrates Lord Ganesha as the god of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles as well as the god of wisdom and intelligence.
Lord Ganesha is worshipped throughout India, especially in the states such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh, and is usually celebrated privately at home in Tamil Nadu.