Over 300 foreign tourists from different parts of the world witnessed the colourful Ganeshotsav immersions at Girgaum Chowpatty Beach till early Wednesday morning as part of the “Maha Ganesh Festival-2017”, an official said here.
The “Maha Ganesh Festival” was organised for the first time by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and Department of Tourism to promote the state’s biggest fest — which completed 125 years in 2017 — among the foreign tourists.
Joining hands with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, as many as 100 tourists were guided to a special pavilion erected to witness the immersions of thousands of gigantic, large, medium and small idols of the elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha, culminating the 12-day long Ganeshotsav.
Present in the pavilion were Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of State for Tourism Madan Yerawar, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) MD Vijay Waghmare, MTDC Joint MD Aashutosh Rathod, diplomats and Consuls General of various countries and other senior officials.
The tourists, hailing from the US, Europe, Japan, Thailand and other nations, witnessed the elaborate immersion rituals which ended on Wednesday morning with the farewell to some of the gigantic idols, including Lalbaug-cha Raja, Fort-cha Raja and Sion-cha Raja.
The highlight of the Maha Ganesh Festival was the worship of an idol of Lord Ganesha by a team of 55 tourists from Thailand at their room in Hotel Trident for the entire 12-day fest this year, said a MTDC spokesperson.
Tourists from Thailand also performed the immersion ceremony of their small idol of Lord Ganesha at Girgaum Chowpatty amidst chanting of “Ganpati Bappa Morya, Pudchya Varshi Lavkar Ya”. They offered prayers to the tune of drums and cymbals as the Indian dignitaries in the pavilion looked on.
“It is a privilege to organise the immersion (visarjan) ceremony and offer a separate dais to foreigners to witness the best of Maharashtra’s rich culture and traditions,” remarked Rawal on the occasion.
Mumbai had a little more than 200,000 associations and groups organising the Ganeshotsav festivities while there are around another 50,000 Ganesh organisations worldwide who celebrate the festival in the US, Europe, north Africa, Australia and South East Asian countries.