The COVID-19 pandemic has seen many prominent religious festivals in India being cancelled or revamped, and now for the time in its 86-year history, the famous Lalbaugcha Raja idol will not be installed on the occasion of Ganeshotsav in Mumbai. The decision was announced by the Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal on Wednesday. Also Read - COVID-19 to Overshadow Ganesh Festival, Hyderabad's Tallest Khairatabad Idol Shrinks to One Foot From 66 Feet
Lalbaugcha Raja is the most famous Sarvajanik Ganapati kept on display for 11-days at Lalbaug in Mumbai during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, and the Ganesh Pandal attracts millions of people. After 11 days, the idol is immersed in the Arabian sea at Girgaon Chowpatty on the auspicious day of Anant Chaturdashi. Also Read - Mumbai: Central Railways to Run Night Trains on Ganesh Chaturthi, Megablocks Cancelled
Officials have revealed that it will be replaced with a 3 to 4 feet idol for carrying out traditional puja and other ceremonies which will start on August 22. Apart from that, the Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal also announced that it has decided to hold blood and plasma donation camps. Also Read - Lalbaugcha Raja 2017: 5 Times the Beautiful Ganesha Idol at Lalbaug in Mumbai Blew Our Mind Away
“In view of the coronavirus pandemic this year, the Mandal has decided to hold blood donation and plasma donation camp for 11 days instead of installing a Ganapati idol,” Zee News quoted Lalbaughcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal treasurer Mangesh Dalvi as saying.
Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal secretary, Sudhir Salvi, was quoted by IANS as saying, “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 the virus.”
The decision came after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray made an appeal to celebrate Ganeshotsav 2020 with more devotion and less pomp in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The iconic Lalbaugcha Raja idol, which is usually 15-feet tall, will be missed during the Maharashtra Ganeshotsav celebrations.