Mumbai's Oldest Keshavji Naik Chawl Ganpati Mandal Has Been Around For 131 Years
Photo : Twitter
Mumbai: This year, Mumbai's oldest Ganpati mandal 'Sarvajanik Ganeshutsav Sanstha' has recorded 131 years of celebrating the festival. Located in the narrow lanes of South Mumbai's Girgaon, the Sanstha was established in 1893 under the leadership of Rao Bahadur Limaye and Godse Shastri. It has been celebrating the Ganesh festival at Keshavji Naik Chawl on Khadilkar Road in a traditional manner with a 2-foot idol made of clay for well over a century now.
"Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak's close associates Rao Bahadur Limaye and Godse Shastri started celebrating the festival here after he gave a call for public celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi for people to come together against the British," says Kumar Walekar, secretary of the Sarvajanik Ganeshutsav Sanstha.
The 10-day festival is being celebrated with the same devotion since 1893, he added. The one thing that makes the pandal stand out is that traditions have been followed for the last 131 years Walekar said.
"Residents celebrate the festival as one family and all the decorations are designed and made by them. Only the stage and pillars are brought from outside," says Walekar beaming with pride.
"We bring idols of the same size every year. There are children here who observe what is happening, they might not understand it now, but once they grow up, they will know what to do while following all the traditions," he further stated.
Santosh Rajwade, a former resident of the chawl, has been visiting the pandal for 40 years despite moving out of the locality. "I have shifted to Borivali now, but I make sure I visit the Bappa' here every year. I am very attached to the Bappa' here. I can never forget everything I learnt here and everything Girgaon has given me," says Rajwade.
As Mumbai's first and oldest pandal, the Keshavji Naik Chawl receives a lot of visitors from around the city and foreigners as well.
Politicians Balasaheb Thackeray, Murli Manohar Joshi, and Amit Shah have also visited the pandal to seek Bappa's' blessings. The idol here receives a traditional welcome in a palanquin without loud music blaring from speakers and is taken away in the same manner for visarjan at Girgaon Chowpatty.
With inputs from PTI.