FOR devotees worrying about standing in long queues to catch a glimpse of Ganpati Bappa, technology in the form of virtual reality (VR) will come to their aid. With major Ganpati pandals in the city going digital, accessing live feeds of darshan and aartis on mobile applications will now be possible.
Starting September 5, major pandals in the city have roped in digital ideas to make Ganesha darshan possible via mobile applications. While the Lalbaugcha Raja organisers approached a group named Alter Net to give a panoramic view of their idol through the ‘Lalbaug 360 degree’ application, the Mumbaicha Raja will be seen in augmented reality on an app designed by experts.
“Through the app named Lalbaug 360 degree, devotees will be able to view all the events for the next 11 days. While the live feed will be available for four hours every day, the rest will be available in a video format on the app. Along with darshan, all the ancillary activities can be seen by the devotees on their computers, smart phones or tablets by scrolling or by using any VR gear,” said Bhausaheb Kamble, president of the Lalbaugcha Raja mandal.
The website Lalbaug360.com also aims to give live coverage of the event. “This initiative will help devotees feel closer to Bappa. For devotees who cannot stand in long queues or are in other parts of the world, this app can make them feel closer,” Kamble added.
Other technology experts have come up with virtual reality applications for at least six major mandals across the city. Of them, Mumbaicha Raja will receive an augmented reality feel. “The aim is to allow devotees to feel as if Bappa is just sitting on their palms, giving them blessings. The application will allow users get a complete, four-dimensional view of the deity. Apart from this, we have made virtual reality applications for six other mandals in the city,” said Aniket Bilare, an app developer.
Mandals are also using technology to beam messages pertaining to social causes. “In the virtual reality application designed for Chintamani Ganpati, users will first get to see an animated picture speaking on the cause of girl child protection. We have done this to associate the festive with a good cause for society. Also, scanning our logo or the picture of Chintamani Ganpati will give a VR feel of the idol to users through the app,” said Pranil Panchal, member of the Chintamani Ganpati mandal.
A message for empowerment of women will be given via the application designed for Girgaumcha Raja. Bilare and team also run a website named Utsavarambh which keeps a database of contacts for more than 30 Ganesh pandals and Dhol Tasha groups. “This is an initiative with regard to encouraging and giving a platform to the talent of youngsters. By combining Ganeshotsav with technology, we invite a lot more people towards the cause,” Bilare added.