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Mumbai, July 1, 2020
First time in its 86-year history, the famed and iconic Lalbaugcha Raja will not be installed during the upcoming 11-day Ganeshotsav, official sources said here on Wednesday.
It will be replaced by a small idol of around 3-4 feet for the traditional 'puja' and other ceremonies, at the 127-year-old 11-day Ganesha festival, which starts on August 22.
This will be in adherence to an appeal by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to celebrate Ganeshotsav 2020 with more devotion and less pomp in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"This year, we shall celebrate Ganeshotsav as 'Arogyautsav' with 11-days of blood and plasma donation camps, donate Rs 25 lakh to the CM Relief Fund for corona aid, help families of the soldiers martyred in the recent India-China border skirmish and Maharashtra Police personnel who lost their lives in the ongoing war against virus," Sudhir Salvi, Secretary, Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal (LRSGM) told mediapersons.
In view of Thackeray's plea, all Ganeshotsav Mandals in the state took a voluntary decision to restrict the height of Ganesha to less than four feet, first time in over four decades since the trend of gigantic idols started.
The normal imposing, 15-feet plus tall idol of Lalbaugcha Raja, and other mega-idols in Mumbai, Pune and other cities will be conspicuous by their absence in the Maharashtra Ganeshotsav celebrations.
A majority of the mandals will have subdued celebrations with small, manageable idols as there will be no huge processions or the elaborate immersion ceremonies at seafronts or other water bodies, as decided by the government.
Besides concentrating on social activities related to the pandemic, many huge mandals will make arrangements to offer online "aarti", "puja" or "darshan" to the devotees to avoid crowds.