Mumbai: People in Mumbai Monday started to bid a tearful adieu to Lord Ganesha, their favourite god who is considered to end all obstacles of life, at the end of his 10-day sojourn this year.
Thousands of Mumbaikars came out on roads for colourful, musical revelry, dancing and singing songs in praise of Lord Ganesha, offering prayers to over 120,000 big and small idols as they slowly wound their way towards various immersion sites in the city.
About 500,000 idols were taken out for immersion across Maharashtra, including Pune, coastal Konkan, Kolhapur, Aurangabad, Nashik, Jalgaon, Solapur and Nagpur, undeterred by rains which continued to lash many parts of the state Monday.
The Western, Central and Konkan Railways will provide special services throughout the night to clear the rush of devotees returning home after the immersion of idols.
Bollywood, television and Marathi film industry personalities were seen at various immersion sites as the departing idols of Lord Ganesha were bringing the curtain down in the state's biggest festival.
Loud chants of "Ganpati bappa Moraya, pudhachya varshi lavkar ya" rent the air when the idols passed on roads and were immersed into water bodies.
Mounting a massive security operation, Mumbai Police deployed over 47,000 policemen, besides 10 companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), and for the first time two companies of Border Security Force (BSF), squads of police to check molestation and plainclothes personnel, 55 motorboats, and installed 278 CCTVs.
The massive force was joined by a 10,500-strong civic squad, 11,000 NSS and NCC cadets, and over 200,000 volunteers from various Ganeshotsav organisations, 404 life-guards from the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and other agencies to manage the crowd and ensure safety during the immersion.
The processions moved towards 27 beaches, 45 lakes and 28 artificial immersion sites especially created for all kinds of idols.
The festival, started by freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak 121 years ago, has grown to mammoth scales and become a festival cutting all community barriers, said BrihanMumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti president N. Dahibhavkar.
People lined up the roads leading to favourite beaches, including Girgaum Chowpatty, Juhu, Shivaji Park, Worli, Versova, Marve, Madh Island, Manori, Gorai, Powai and Aarey Lakes.
Some of the biggest idols which have started their final journey include the Lalbaugcha Raja, Ganesh Gullycha Raja. These idols are 15-20 feet tall.