In Photos: Lalbaugcha Raja’s Darshan With Piyush Jha

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Adman and novelist, Piyush Jha, visited the Lalbagcha Raja yesterday and his step by step photo essay of the three hours spent there is almost like a virtual tour of the ‘journey’. And I had to share it with all you guys. Here is what Piyush had to share about his experience, “Year after year, the fame of the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal at Lalbaug has spread far and wide. Now, each year the Mandal attracts millions of devotees and the aartis are telecast to Ganesh worshippers all over the world. But, since the placement of the Ganapati idol has been fixed right in the heart of the busy market at Peru Chawl with its surrounding shop-lined narrow lanes, the darshan arrangements are still makeshift. However, the most amazing thing to see is that the otherwise unruly Indian, is at his well-behaved best, as he waits in the unbelievably long queue, to get his few seconds with the Lord. Barring one or two odd incidents, the devotees just go with the flow, waiting hours on their feet for their darshan. The policemen are polite and make sure that the people trying to break into the line are discouraged gently or dealt with quickly. The only shouts one hears are those of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya’. This prompts one to realize that Lord Ganesh does move in mysterious ways.”

8 am. We join the crowded queue at Kalachowki approximately 1 kilometer away from the Lalbaugcha Raja.
8 am. We join the crowded queue at Kalachowki approximately 1 kilometer away from the Lalbaugcha Raja.
A little in a hoodie sells ganpati baubles to the crowds in the queue
A little in a hoodie sells Ganpati baubles to the crowds in the queue.
An enterprising south-indian gentleman sells a breakfast of idli-dosa.
An enterprising south Indian gentleman sells a breakfast of idli-dosa.
A cutting chai can't be too far away. But the devotees in the queue ignore the chaiwala.
A cutting chai can’t be too far away. But the devotees in the queue ignore the chaiwala.
The cops keep a watchful eye on the bamboo barriers. But one is trying to break it
The cops keep a watchful eye on the bamboo barriers. But one is trying to break it
A Dhol group performs loud percussion in the street as the crowd shuffles along peacefully.
A Dhol group performs loud percussion in the street as the crowd shuffles along peacefully.
This Dhol player is really into it. As the Kalachowki Ganpati painting looks on.
This Dhol player is really into it. As the Kalachowki Ganpati painting looks on.
My mother, my mother's friend, and my wife hold on to the bamboo railings for support.
My mother, my mother’s friend, and my wife hold on to the bamboo railings for support.
A beautifully painted temple across the road.
A beautifully painted temple across the road.
8.45 a.m as we approach the first turning onto the main Dr. Ambedkar Road.
8.45 a.m as we approach the first turning onto the main Dr. Ambedkar Road.
A couple of lady cops chill and chat since they really don't have to do much. The crowd is pretty well behaved. They turn their backs to us.
A couple of lady cops chill and chat since they really don’t have to do much. The crowd is pretty well behaved. They turn their backs to us.
My mom buys some flowers from a vendor.
My mom buys some flowers from a vendor.
Bored as hell, Sunil, another flower vendor, waits for his father to reach with the day's wares.
Bored as hell, Sunil, another flower vendor, waits for his father to reach with the day’s wares.
Suddenly, much to people's annoyance a taxi exits a by-lane and tries to cut through the crowd. But, after some mildly hot words they let the cab pass.
Suddenly, much to people’s annoyance a taxi exits a by-lane and tries to cut through the crowd. But, after some mildly hot words they let the cab pass.
Dhoni or perhaps someone else looks on as another boy-vendor tries to peddle us flowers.
Dhoni or perhaps someone else looks on as another boy-vendor tries to peddle us flowers.
'Flowers! Sweets!' Shouts this vendor as he climbs on the bamboo and hangs his offerings over the heads of the crowd.
‘Flowers! Sweets!’ Shouts this vendor as he climbs on the bamboo and hangs his offerings over the heads of the crowd.
A matronly old lady brandishes a stick and warns people that she'll whack them if they step out of the line. No one does.
A matronly old lady brandishes a stick and warns people that she’ll whack them if they step out of the line. No one does.
We come upon a 'Nimbu sharbat wala'. People slake their thirst. Its hot and humid by now. Almost 9.30 am.
We come upon a ‘Nimbu sharbat wala’. People slake their thirst. Its hot and humid by now. Almost 9.30 am.

 

A lady ties to ghusao into the queue, ducking under the bamboo. The crowd shouts and the lady beats a hasty retreat.
A lady ties to ghusao into the queue, ducking under the bamboo. The crowd shouts and the lady beats a hasty retreat.
A pungi seller tries to get someone to buy his stuff. No one's interested.
A pungi seller tries to get someone to buy his stuff. No one’s interested.
The back of a bus stop has been turned into a coconut stall.
The back of a bus stop has been turned into a coconut stall.
A small mandir opens for business. But, even the pandit outside knows that no one will visit. Today's Ganpati's day.
A small mandir opens for business. But, even the pandit outside knows that no one will visit. Today’s Ganpati’s day.
A man tries to use his child as emotional blackmail, and break into the queue, but the cop's too smart for him.
A man tries to use his child as emotional blackmail, and break into the queue, but the cop’s too smart for him.
A woman gets pushed a bit, She lets loose a tirade on the culprit.
A woman gets pushed a bit, She lets loose a tirade on the culprit.
The footpath narrows even further, as we approach the maze hall.
The footpath narrows even further, as we approach the maze hall.
Into the maze hall. We have to go round and round these orange metal barriers to traverse this huge hall.
Into the maze hall. We have to go round and round these orange metal barriers to traverse this huge hall.
The first sighting of the Lalbaug cha Raja, albeit on closed-circuit TV.
The first sighting of the Lalbaug cha Raja, albeit on closed-circuit TV.
I walk dutifully behind the wife.
I walk dutifully behind the wife.
After we finish the first maze, we have to contend with another, even more crowded maze.
After we finish the first maze, we have to contend with another, even more crowded maze.
Yup. We are going to join that crowd in a few moments.
Yup. We are going to join that crowd in a few moments.
 Oh! I forgot to mention. Between the two mazes is a VIP way. VIPs stroll through casually.

Oh! I forgot to mention. Between the two mazes is a VIP way. VIPs stroll through casually.
Finally after an hour, we have made it through the maze, and past the metal detectors.
Finally after an hour, we have made it through the maze, and past the metal detectors.
The gully at the end of which is the Lalbaug cha Raja. There is a spring in our steps now...
The gully at the end of which is the Lalbaug cha Raja. There is a spring in our steps now…
Oh! Did I mention, this lovely clean path in the middle is for... you guessed right...VIPs
Oh! Did I mention, this lovely clean path in the middle is for… you guessed right…VIPs
THE FIRST SIGHTING!
THE FIRST SIGHTING!
We draw near..
We draw near..
and we're told to move along... our 15 sec darshan is over.
and we’re told to move along… our 15 sec darshan is over.
Lalbajcha Raja 2013
Lalbajcha Raja 2013
Out on Dr. Ambedkar road at 11 am. Exactly 3 hours later.
Out on Dr. Ambedkar road at 11 am. Exactly 3 hours later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post By Garima Sharma (111 Posts)

Founding Editor at MumbaiMag, graffiti and street art lover, traveller, blogger and amateur photographer, slave to Thor, my Lab.

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Garima Sharma

Garima Sharma
Founding Editor at MumbaiMag, graffiti and street art lover, traveller, blogger and amateur photographer, slave to Thor, my Lab.
  • Asha Bhardwaj

    It,s very nice to see Lal Bagcha Raja ,all pic are very nice and natural

  • what are your views on the manhandling of devotees by the mandal people…i think they have too much money to have not have political contacts and are in a way using it to get away with everything…..