Almost five years have gone since the last time I visited any Mumbai sarvajanik Ganpathi utsav erection. Why not this time! My friend encouraged me to accompany him. Without hesitation I fixed it for Wednesday afternoon through next day’s morning.
I packed my bag with necessary items including camera. We met at Navi Mumbai station and headed towards our first destination that was towards Charni Road. We got down at Kurla to change the train. My friend ran towards Dadar fast local at the adjacent platform and I followed. Getting down at Dadar was a big headache as the boarding passengers were behaving in their worst manners as if they had never seen a train in their life. Don’t know what we either could have done in their place. Well from there we boarded Churchgate train and got off at Charni Road station.
At first we had a wadapav at a stall and then a glass of tea. That was enough for that time. We walked to the Khetwadi Ganpathi erections. These are lanes almost about 13 in number and famous for their Ganpathi erections in different pictures and structures.
We directly walked up to the last lane when I suddenly realized a familiar street. On that street was Camabaugh refreshment stall where we had patti samosa which it is famous for and also packed a dozen.
Second was 12th lane which took most of our time as it was the most famous one and air conditioned. We had to be in line for almost 45 minutes. Ones inside, we were with the people performing aarati. We had a chance for touching the feet of the idol and also a selfie. We finished this darshan in one and a half hour.
Then in this way one by one we finished the darshans of all the remaining elevan lanes up to the first lane. None of them were prolonged as the 12th lane of course so we finished all the darshan within three hours. Meanwhile in between we also took the darshan of various other erections.
It was 12 past midnight and as we had finished the darshans of that area we were thinking of how to go to lalbaugh in the quick and easiest possible way. For a few minutes we were just going through roads confused and then after a decision we took a taxi to sandhurst road station as we thought it to be the easiest way towards Lalbaugh now. We had to reach lalbaugh fast as in a few minutes the last trains were supposed to leave. Ones at Sandhrust Road station and after a few arguments over harbor or central line to catch we stuck to central and took a ticket to curry road for my friend. Inside the train I realized that I had the pass of harbor and not that of central. Getting a bit conscious I asked my friend whether we should get down at next station for a ticked. He just laughed and told me to shut up and sit down quietly. Soon we were at curry road and ones out of the station I was at east.
We headed towards Lalbaugh Cha Raja, not to mention much about it now as it is the most famous Ganpathi in India or even the world you can say. The streets were filled with some kind of energy and excitement. The advertisements were lively as it was clearly seen how much they must have spent on the sponsorships. First task was to find the starting point of the que towards the idol. We found it at last and after many zig zag and U turns, up and down the stairs, running and jumping we had its darshan in one and a half hour. That was a great achievement for us. Don’t know what strange kind of energy runs within us when we finish this darshan, or is it just our mind! Outside we bought some Prasad. It was motichure Ladoo and on the box was a lable of Lalbaugh Cha Raja written.
After coming back to the streets we had a cup of tea served in thermocol cup. This was enough to drive the lethargy and any amount of sleep we had. Next we had the darshan of Ganesh galli. It was more on show side and decorated with art. From there we visited Tejukaya and Chicchpokhli cha Chintamani. My friend went inside the Chintamani for darshan as I stayed out as it was too crowded and footwear had to be left outside.
Ultimately we finished our darshans that we had planned and took a lot of photographs and video. It was past 5 am now. We slowly walked towards Cotton green station which was one and a half km away from there. We caught an almost empty train and relaxed. That was so comfortable that we were almost fast asleep. My friend just gave up and stretched his legs on the empty seat and slept off. We were silent thorough out the return journey as both of us didn’t have the energy to talk anything since we had left home the previous day that was almost 15 hours before. The feeling was great of course.