Pune plays host to the Ganpati festival for ten days every year. It was started by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893, to bring people together and promote harmony at a time when India was divided under the British Rule. This 10-day festival provides a platform for local artists to display their talent through cultural programs organised by the various Ganesh Mandals in the city. From replica of historic temples to creating palaces and larger than life idols, months of work of artists takes shape through these celebrations.
1. Kasba Ganpati
Established in 1893, this temple is the ‘pahila manacha’ ganpati or the most revered Ganpati in Pune. It’s no wonder that the mandal gets the first preference during immersions. Being the most revered, all other mandals follow Shri Kasba Ganpati. During the immersion process, Lord Ganesh is placed in a Palkhi made of silver and the devotees carry it on their shoulders.
This year, the mandal has been designed as a Gaja Mahal or the elephants’ palace created by artist Girish Kolapkar. The Mandal upholds women empowerment. On one of the days of the festival, the Mandal invites women to take care of the activities. In an innovative gesture, they have installed Water ATMs at Khandobawadi village.
Address: 159, Kasba Peth, Pune
2. Tambdi Jogeshwari Temple
Constructed in the 15th century, the Tambadi Jogeshwari temple gets its name from the idol that is red (tambdi) in colour and its location in the Jogeshwari lane of Budhwar Peth in Pune. This mandal is revered as the second ‘manacha’ ganpati and is second in line for immersions every year. Interestingly the presiding deity is not Ganesha but Durga. The temple has an idol of Ganesha which is said to be self-originated and has a head that resembles an African elephant. Since the year 2000, a separate mandal has been created for the Ganesh idol established in a silver dome. This year’s attraction is a huge artistic tortoise placed under this silver dome.
Address: 33 (A) Budhwar Peth, Pune
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3. Guruji Talim Ganpati
This temple constructed in 1887, stands out for being the first mandal started by Hindu and Muslim families. It gets its name from a wrestling pit and gymnasium that is situated very close to Ganpati Chowk. The instructor who worked there was always referred to as Guruji and the first idol was installed at the talim (wrestling pit). This is the third ‘manacha’ ganpati and is given the third preference during immersion. Some of the attractions include the 10 kg gold used on the idol along with a 190 tola garland adorning it.
Address: Ganpati Chowk, Laxmi Road, Pune
4. Tulshi baug Ganpati