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No more sweating it out for Lalbaugcha Raja

Last updated on: August 31, 2010 14:28 IST

No more sweating it out for Lalbaugcha Raja

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Devotees queuing up for a darshan of 'Lalbaugcha Raja' this year will no longer have to brave intense heat or heavy downpour for a glimpse of Mumbai's most famous deity, as the Ganesh Mandal hosting it has decided to set up air-conditioned enclosures for them.

In a first in seven decades, we are setting up a waiting enclosure measuring 60,000 sq ft to prevent devotees from heat and rains during the festival. It is on a ground that we have taken on rent from Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation," Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal President Satish Khankar said.

The ground can accommodate at least 15,000 people at a time and will have five giant air-conditioning units for the comfort of devotees, he said.

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Image: Mumbai's grandest Ganpati: Lalbaugcha Raja
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
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Free snacks, tea and water for devotees

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Lakhs of people turn up from far-off places, including foreigners, and stand for hours in queues running into several kilometres only to get a 'darshan' of the idol at LRSGM, which is celebrating its 76th Ganeshotsav this year.

"As devotees have to wait in queues for 16-20 hours, we will provide tea, snacks and bottled water to them free of cost," Khankar said.

The Ganesh mandal will also provide for doctors and nurses to offer medical aid to worshippers.

"The enclosure will have a 24-hour intensive care unit managed by doctors and medical attendants. There will be toilets as well," he said.


Image: From our files: Lakhs of devotees wait patiently for a glimpse of Lalbaugcha Raja
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
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50 cameras to keep an eye on the crowds

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On security arrangements, he said, "We have installed over 50 cameras and a few metal detectors, besides equipping all our members with walkie-talkies. We have a small control room to keep an eye on suspicious activities and monitor the movement of devotees. In addition, the police is also going to provide security."

"We have also appointed a private company, which would work round the clock to maintain clean and hygienic surroundings," Khankar said.


Image: Lalbaugcha Raja is a grand spectacle
Photographs: Sahil Salve
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