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FOR THE 62-year-old Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samiti in Wadala, preserving tradition comes before welcoming change. This is probably why it considers following the ritual of archana the most important one, and puja puraskar (priority to worship) defines the mandal.
Originating from north Karnataka region, the mandal, which was established in 1955, aims at bringing the GSB community together. Since then, it claims, it has witnessed the presence of more than 2 lakh devotees for the Ganesh festival.
“We believe in making every day count with prayers, pujas and chants. One will not witness a single dull day, or one filled with the use of loud music, in this mandal. In fact, our Ganpati idol also has never been different,” said Ulhas Kamat, president, GSB Samiti.
This year, the mandal will have decorations similar to temples in south India. While the upper part of the stage — where the Ganpati idol is to be placed — will sport carvings similar to Ganpati’s crown, the ceiling will have lotus-shaped chandeliers.
“We have tried uplifting the decoration a bit and made it similar to that of the temples in the south. Our Ganpati’s crown, along with the crown carved on the stage, will sport a diamond at the centre. We have also received necklaces, including a coins’ necklace, to be put on the Ganesha from devotees anonymously,” Kamat added.
The mandal also hosts individual havans for couples. “The first ten days of the Ganpati festival always see individual havans for couples. At least 300 havans take place in our mandal on a daily basis. We have already received more than 3,000 registrations for them this year round,” Kamat added.
What makes their mandal special, he claims, is the schedule of pujas divided every day. It begins with Ganatalom, followed with narration of stories on Ganesha, Mudaganapati (serving 108 dishes made for the deity), appa naivedya (serving prasad of appam), modak naivedya (serving prasad of modaks), Mahapuja, lunch, darshan by visitors followed by chanting of shlokas and cultural programmes in the night.
When asked whether any day will see a different routine, he said, “The ten days are reserved for the worship of Ganesha. One will find an enhanced glow on the face of the god between the seventh or the eight day. We believe the havans and worships are responsible for it.”
The charity amount received in the end is donated to medical and education trusts, Kamat said. In preserving the traditions of the celebration, members believe they also conserve the communication the devotees have with the Lord.
“We cannot interfere with the emotions of the devotees for Bappa. Thus we believe in being old but devotional,” he added.