Updated: September 20, 2021 3:53:09 pm
Immersion rituals at the Manache Ganpati – the five Ganesh mandals which traditionally lead the immersion processions in Pune – concluded around 2 pm Sunday amid chants of ‘Ganapati Bappa Moraya, Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya’ urging the deity to come soon next year.
Rituals at the other prominent mandals are expected to conclude by 7 pm with limited mandal members in attendance. This year, the mandals have been mandated to immerse idols in artificial tanks created especially for the purpose.
Idol immersion rituals on Anant Chaturdashi, the final day of the 10-day Ganesh festival, had begun in Pune on Sunday morning amid restrictions. Senior officials said that by 2 pm, the immersion had concluded at the five Manache Ganpati – Kasba Ganpati Mandal, Tambdi Jogeshwari Mandal, Guruji Talim Mandal, Tulshibaug Mandal and Kesri Wada Mandal.
This is the second time that the Ganesh festival is being celebrated under the shadow of the pandemic with the police imposing strict curbs on the immersion processions which are otherwise a glittering affair with large crowds of devotees in attendance. Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta and Joint Commissioner Ravindra Shisve held meetings with office-bearers of the Manache Ganpati and other prominent mandals asking them to lead by example and conduct immersion rituals in a low-key manner.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Shisve said, “The immersion rituals are going on peacefully across the city. The immersion of Manache Ganpati concluded around 2 pm. Other prominent mandals are expected to conclude it by 6.30-7 pm.”
The pooja at the pandal of Shree Kasba Ganpati Mandal, the first among the five Manache Ganpati, began around 11 am, marking the start of rituals. The authorities have banned immersions in rivers and rituals on riverbanks to avoid large gatherings.
Meanwhile, police seized dhol-tasha drums which some members of one of the mandals started playing during the immersion proceedings. A senior officer said that police held talks with the mandal office-bearers after some of the members started playing the drums. Police took away the drums after which the proceedings continued.
Pune police have imposed traffic restrictions and deployed crowd control units across the city to minimise violations of Covid guidelines. The 7,000-odd police force consists of personnel from police stations and headquarters, 10 riot control units, 16 Quick Response Teams, eight teams from the Bomb Squad and 20 Crime Branch teams. Ten platoons of the State Reserve Police Force and 450 home guards have been deployed additionally.
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