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In 125th year of Ganeshotsav, devotees get 12-day mega-fest

Friday’s Ganeshotsav marks the 125th year of public celebrations in the annals of the festival.

This year, festivities span 12 days, including two weekends.

The fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapad is observed as Ganesh Chaturthi.

Mandals and households are expected to perform the ‘pran pratishtha’ ceremony during Friday’s puja mahurat spanning 11.25am through 1.55pm.

Priests advise devotees to avoid setting eyes on the moon this day.

Preparations begin up to two months in advance.

Families make offerings of red hibiscus flowers, durva grass, coconut and, of course, the lord’s favourite modak sweet made either from rice or wheat flour, mawa, chocolate and dried fruit.

This year, the historic edge is unmistakable in Pune as well as Mumbai.

It was in 1892-93 that Lokmanya Tilak gave the call for community festivities as a way of mobilising support against British rule.

In the city, Keshavji Naik Chawl, Girgaum, which was the first to heed Tilak’s call, is observing its 125th festival with the limited pomp and show that its modest nature allows.

Khadilkar Lane, where the chawl is located, is lit with a canopy of lights.

Inside, a replica of the Ganpatipule temple has been built for the 2.25-ft-tall idol.

In an era when pandals spend Rs 50lakh to Rs 60 lakh on decoration, here for the first time Keshavji Naik chawl is spending Rs 18 lakh as compared to the regular Rs 3lakh to Rs 4 lakh.

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