By Ruchika Goswamy
Often referred to as a cultural hub, the city of Pune is all decked up to welcome Lord Ganesh. The city houses many Ganesh temples and idols that hold cultural and historical prominence. Along with the five “Manache Ganpatis”, there are other major Ganpatis that have historical relevance and should be a part of a pandal hopper’s itinerary.
Since most of the pandals and temples are spread across the old city, several individuals and organisers have come up with heritage walks in which one can not only witness the spectacular idols but also learn about the story behind them. These heritage walks, which are slowly gaining momentum in other cities as well, help one better connect with culture and traditions.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Nishigandha Sakhardande, from Travia Outdoors, said, “We began the Ganesh walk a year back and the idea behind it is to highlight how the festival started in Pune. We are focusing on Ganpati idols that have architectural and historical relevance. We will be undertaking a circular route starting from Shaniwarwada at 6 am. We will visit idols in Kasaba Peth, Shaniwar Peth and Shukrawar Peth. We will also talk about the Ganesh festival during the Peshwa era, so we are commencing the walk from Shaniwarwada. For the walk, we are charging Rs 300 per head, which includes the guided heritage walk, expertise and two Ukdiche Modak at the end. We advise participants to carry water bottles and umbrellas as the walk will last for three hours. “
Meanwhile, Firasti Maharashtrachi Pune Ganesh Festival and Ancient Trials have come together to organise a free walk during the festival.
Anurag Vaidya, from Firasti Maharashtrachi, said, “We will be covering different areas over the festival, including Visarjan or immersion day. We will not only visit the idols but also explain the historical relevance of the 10 Ganpatis. The main Ganpatis that we will cover during the walk are the ‘Manache Paach Ganpatis, Peshwa Ganpati, Munjoba Ganpati, Sarasbaug Ganpati, Trishund Ganpati, Madrasi Ganpati and Chimnaya Ganpati’.”
The “Manache Paach” walk by Travelzilla will highlight the five most sacred idols in Pune.
Vishal Sane, Travelzilla, said, “We have been conducting the walk since last year. The objective of Manache Paach Ganpati walk is to educate people about the five most revered idols in the city. There are many people who despite living in the city are unaware about the history and culture associated with the idols. We are organising a free walk with an average intake of twenty on September 8 at 5.30 pm.”
Jayesh Paranjape, from The Western routes, said, “We have organised heritage walks during Ganeshotsav for the past five years. We are planning to visit Manache Paach Ganpatis. Not only the local residents but also people from foreign countries can take part in the walk. We will organise our walk on September 8 since it is the only weekend during the festival. We will start from Shaniwarwada at 8 am with an average intake of 30 to 40 people. The walk will include a guided talk and refreshments. We also organise personal walks.”