Lalbaugcha Raja 2023: At least 1.5 million devotees visit Lalbaugcha Raja, the Ganesh deity of the Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, each year. The 12-foot-tall idol will be unveiled on the first day of the 10-day Ganesh Chathurthi festival (falling on 19 to 28 September). The mandal was established in 1934 when a Ganpati dressed as a fisherman was erected. Since then, a new avatar has been introduced annually. We asked Shri Balasaheb Sudam Kamble, the president of the Lalbaugcha Rajvajanik Ganesh Utsav Mandal, about the procession’s schedule, queues, and other provisions.
Lalbaughcha Raja darshan and waiting time
The Mandal offers both Mukh Darshan and Navas Charan-Sparsh Darshan, depending on how near you desire to be to the Lord.
Mukh Darshan: Join this line for a brief, distant view of the deity. This sneak look alone may require six to seven hours of waiting time.
Navas or Charan-Sparsh Darshan: This line is for devotees who wish to receive blessings by touching the soles of the idol. As the most popular darshan among tourists, the average wait time for this is between 12 and 15 hours.
On 19 September 2023 at 4:00 a.m., the Mukh Darshan and Navas Charan-Sparsh Darshan will commence with an aarti. Darshan will remain open 24 hours a day until Visarjan Day on September 28, 2023.
Where do the lines for Lalbaugcha Raja begin?
The genuine pandal with the idol is located at the Lalbaug Police Station in South Mumbai’s Lalbaug Market. The Charan-Sparsh line begins here on Babasahed Ambedkar Road and proceeds along GD Ambekar Marg near Kala Chowki. Chhatrapati Shivaji Ground (Garam Khada) – Dr. BA Road – Dattaram Lad Marg – TB Kadam Marg – Add’l CP’s Office – Dr. BA Road – Rani Baug (or the Zoo). At any given moment, approximately 5,000 individuals gather at the venue for darshan.
Other arrangements for Lalbaugcha Raja’s safety
For Lalbaughcha Raja, stringent security and crowd-control measures are in force.
More than 250 CCTV cameras have been deployed.
In addition to police officers, 3,500 to 4,000 trained volunteers will be stationed throughout the pandal. The volunteers have been divided into departments with various responsibilities, such as monitoring the entry points, queues, housekeeping, shoe care, and the public address system. In addition, firefighters have been recruited for emergency situations.
The queues and Mandal have adequate ventilation. The lines for Charan Sparsh are stocked with purified water, tea, and coffee, as well as pulao and khichdi, all of which are provided at no cost. Additionally, beverages and basic refreshments will be supplied to the Mukh Darshan queue. Facilities including a first-aid kit and medical personnel from nearby private and public institutions such as KEM, Wadia, and Sion Hospitals will be accessible.
Wheelchairs will be available upon request, and accessible restrooms have been installed.
Additionally, there are designated private areas for expectant women and new mothers.
Is there a recommended period of the year to visit Lalbaugcha Raja?
Mandal officials tell CNT that there is no foolproof way to avoid the crowds at Lalbaugcha Raja, where over 1.5 million devotees are anticipated annually. However, the early morning hours between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. are relatively less crowded and calmer. Prepare for the throng regardless of when you choose to go; there is almost no way to avoid it.
An illustrious Lalbaugcha Raja
Even the wealthy and renowned seek Bappa’s blessings. Amitabh Bachchan performs an arati annually, as do the Bachchans, the Ambanis, the Devgns, Sachin Tendulkar, Shankar Mahadevan, Kangana Ranaut, Anil Kapoor, and Riteish Deshmukh, among others. Obviously, they have VIP access, so it is improbable that they will be in the line behind you. These VIP permits cannot be purchased, and celebrities, politicians, and other VIPs must contact the Mandal directly to obtain them.
In good faith for a worthy reason
Kamble states that all of the devotees’ donations are used for social activities. Over the years, the Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Mandal has funded a number of projects, including a dialysis center where 300 patients are presently receiving treatment for a nominal fee of Rs100, with the Mandal covering all other expenses. The Mandal has also funded a library with over three million volumes, a computer training center, and study rooms for 87,000 members in Peru Chawl. When a landslide struck Irshalwadi in August of this year, the mandal was there the following day to provide victims with sustenance and aid. On September 24, families affected by the disaster will receive a 50,000 check during a special occasion.
Consider the following if you intend to visit Lalbaugcha Raja this year.
Keep in mind that the procession can be lengthy: up to seven hours for Mukh Darshan and more than fifteen hours for Charan-Sparsh Darshan.
You may wish to bring a small mat or newspapers to sit on, sufficient water, and perhaps some snacks. Although there are no restrictions on what can be carried, all luggage will be screened for security purposes.
There is no hard-and-fast rule regarding what to wear to a darshan, so simply do something comfortable that you could spend several hours in.
It is permitted to carry a cell phone and take photographs. But do so at your own risk, as the crowd can become overwhelming and it is common for phones and other items to tumble into the enormous hundis in front of the idol, from which they cannot be retrieved. Also, beware of pickpockets.
Flowers can be purchased both inside and outside of the pandal. However, most devotees present Lord Ganpati with ‘durva’ or scotch grass, which is believed to appease him. This is predominantly presented by devotees in line for the Navas Darshan.