Lalbaugcha Raja – Mumbai’s Favorite Deity
TNI Bureau: While Ganesh Chaturthi is being observed across the country, the state of Maharashtra has a special place in celebration. And out of the thousands of Ganesh idols established at different pandals and houses during the Ganeshotsava, the mammoth idol of Ganesh ji placed at the Lalbaugcha Raja attracts most of the devotees the number amounting to lakhs.
This year about 60 lakh devotees are expected to have darshan of the idol in Lalbaugcha. The reason of this huge rush is that the Raja Ganesh is believed to be Navsacha (vow) Ganapati, who fulfills any wishes made before Him by the devotees.
A report suggests that around 1.5 million people or more visit this Ganesh Pendal daily during the 10 day Ganeshotsav festival. Popularity of this pandal is so high that people do not bother to wait for even 90 to 100 hours in the queue to have the feet darshan of the Lord.
Origin of the Lalbaugcha Raja Ganapati traces back to the pre-Independence era in the year 1934. Then, after shutting down of the market place at Peru Chawl in 1932, the fishermen and vendors, who used to sit in the open space, lost place to market their products.
Thus, after struggling hard to survive they all together vowed to Lord Ganesha, the prime deity of Maharashtra for a permanent market and finally succeed to have one at the present place of Lalbaugh.
Out of gratitude the vendors and fishermen established the Ganesh Idol on 12 September 1934 for the first ever time there and the Ganeshji there was known as Lalbaugh Raja, means the king of Lalbaugh.
Since then the Raja Ganeshji was revered as the God, who fulfills any desire and the process is on till date.
Some others are of the opinion that the Ganesh ji at Lalbaugh was established by Lokmanya Tilak during the colonial rule to sow the seeds of independence among the Indians to fight against the Britishers. The organizing body of this Ganesh idol is known as “SARVAJANIK GANESHOTSAV MANDAL LALBAUG”.