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Maharashtra soaks in Ganeshotsav

Maharashtra soaks in Ganeshotsav

Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra shifted into a festive gear with the arrival at homes and public places of thousands of big, medium and small idols of the elephant-headed Lord Ganesh for the 10-day long annual Ganeshotsav on Monday.

The festival, initiated in an open public format in 1892 by Mumbai's Bhausaheb Laxman Javale alias Bhau Rangari, enters the 125th year.

It was popularised on a mass scale by freedom-fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak from 1893 onwards in Pune to unite the people against the British Rule and in the struggle for Indian Independence.

In less than a decade, it had spread across the state in a big way and even other parts of the country where public Ganeshotsav celebrations were held.

A century and a quarter later, the festival has transformed into Maharashtra's biggest, most opulent, glittering fiesta drawing lakhs of devotees and tourists, with the biggest celebrations held in Mumbai, Pune and the coastal Konkan region, where Lord Ganesh has for generations been a reigning deity.