Thousands of gigantic, large, medium and small idols of the elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha, were taken out for immersion to various water bodies on Anant Chaturdashi, marking the end of the 12-day long Ganeshotsav in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra on Tuesday.
The idols were moved from their pedestals amid chanting of the "udvasana mantra" and taken out of the various marquees, societies and individual homes, in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Nashik, coastal Konkan districts and other towns in the state.
This was the 125th year of the state's biggest public festival.
The idols were brought onto the roads to the accompaniment of 'dhols' (drums), cymbals, thousands dancing and chanting "Ganpati Bappa Moraya, Pudhchya Varshi Lavkar Ya" (Lord Ganesha bless us, come soon next year), in clouds of auspicious red 'gulaal'.
Tight security by multiple agencies were in place in Mumbai since the Ganesh Chaturthi on August 25 with over 40,000 personnel of the Mumbai Police, teams of Fire Brigade, the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard, disaster management, besides helicopters, high-speed patrol boats and hovercrafts on the coastline, and over 5,000 CCTVs in the city.
Drones shall also be deployed for both aerial surveillance and beaming real-time images in Mumbai and other cities during the immersion ceremonies.
While Disaster Amateur Radio Emergency Services, an amateur HAM radio operators team will be active at various spots.
In Mumbai, the main immersion will be at the historic Girgaum Chowpatty with top officials like Police Commissioner Datta Padsalgikar and BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta personally monitoring the developments.
Besides, thousands of idols are being taken for immersions at the Dadar Chowpatty, Mahim seaface, beaches of Juhu, Versova, Gorai, Madh, Marve, Manori, Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Aarey Milk Colony, natural ponds and artificial water bodies created for an eco-friendly immersion all over Mumbai.
Besides Mumbai, the other major immersions have begun in the coastal district of Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg since daybreak, in the presence of lifeguards provided by various civic bodies and volunteers.
This year, Mumbai hosted around 11,550 big Ganeshotsav celebrations with budgets running into several crores of rupees; 190,000 medium or small groups with budgets of around Rs 500,000 to Rs five million, and millions of individual households in Mumbai and rest of Maharashtra.
Naresh Dahibhavkar, the President of BrihanMumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), said this year there were around 300 gigantic idols in public marquees within the prescribed height limit of 18-feet.
This year, the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has made special arrangements for domestic and international tourists to view the immersion ceremonies at Girguam and other places as part of its new intiaitive -- the Ganeshotsav Tourism.
As usual, some of the biggest idols were seen at the famed Lalbaug-cha Raja, Ganesh Gully, Borivali's Kastur Park, Sewri-cha Raja, Andheri-cha Raja, Fort-cha Raja, Khetwadi, Bandra and Shivaji Park and others which are due for immersions on Tuesday.