It’s that time of the year when everyone in India welcomes the Elephant God into their house, fondly known as Ganpati. 10 days of every Indian’s life revolve around the worship of the God. Ganesh has been an annual feature in our house for as long as I can remember, we don’t get in the clay idol, we have an idol made of silver which we offer prayers to. As kids, mom would make us clean the idol and also decorate temples made of cardboard or Styrofoam. We would also get a whole lot of guests who came to our house during these 10 days to offer prayers and generally socialize with the family. Over the years our beliefs have changed, we are no longer actively involved in the ceremonies pretty much Mom, Dad, Uncle and Aunty who manage the same. We on the other hand definitely go to see the awesome idols around where we live and take pictures creating our very own unique Ganpati Photowalk.
The biggest challenge with the photowalk is the crazy and erratic Mumbai rains, I personally don’t like my camera and gear getting wet and hence have to wait for the right time to get out there. Saturday began with crazy rains in the morning but eventually the day turned out to be sunny, at about 4:00pm I decided to head out for the photowalk, please note the objective was clear take pictures of Idols, a few minutes away from our house is Grant Road vegetable market, this also houses the biggest Ganesh idol in our area – I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was no security in and around the Pandal (temporary temple), people moved in an out easily and it was not mad crowded, I quickly setup my camera and started taking shots, to my surprise nobody disturbed me or said not to take pictures, instead they were more than happy to let me keep shooting, the kids there also volunteered to look after my bag so I could move around easily -Absolutely awesome
From there on every pandal I went to I was extended the same courtesy, my next destination was Grant road station, the Ganpati there was lit up, so time to crank ISO and shoot, note I hate using flash, I think it takes away from the reality of the image. I retraced my steps from the station towards the BMC station at D-Ward, this area has always had very creative idols, I was surprised this time around instead of going creative, the committee there had gone for a simpler much larger idol, it was very impressive. This pandal also had some kids playing carom; they were very excited when I took their picture. Next destination Papanas Wadi, this is a small lane next to my house, their theme eco friendly Ganesh, I did not realise I had friends here, these were kids who I had grown up with, in turn I was treated like a star, they cleared the floor and let me take pictures and fed me a whole lot of sweet meats. Next I moved onto a lesser known destination, this is a small bylane near Nana Chowk, they generally get a small idol but it is always very unique, this time around was exactly the same. Moving uphill I got to Kemps Corner, the Pan Gali idol was a black and gold idol and was huge, post taking pictures I moved towards my final 3 destinations August Kranti Maidan (Tejpal) and Geeta building and old Gamdevi.
The final destinations are also the oldest as far as we are concerned, they have been housing idols long before it was fashionable to host them. The Tejpal idol was simple but they had surrounded it by envelopes of Ganpati, to my suprise there was nobody around the mini pandal, forgot to mention, I missed the Ganpati which use to be there at the Kharegat intersection, don’t know why it was not there. Anyways moving on the Geeta building Ganesh, was mounted on the shoulders of Hanuman, very different from anything I had seen so far. The volunteers there let me get close to the idol and take pictures, by now I was losing light so cranked up the ISO even more. From here I quickly rushed to Old Gamdevi, this idol was surrounded by women who were waiting for the evening Aarti, I did not waste time here, moved quickly and shot a few images and headed home. All in all the photowalk was an amazing experience the pandals are amazingly peaceful and people don’t bother you, also there are no annoying kids going ‘uncle take photo, my photo please’ and so on. Really enjoyed this walk, and will definitely do this again on the day of immersion, this time around with my zoom lens.
Do check out our awesome Slideshow of Ganesh Pics below – Shot using a Nikon D5100 with a 18-55mm lens