Mumbai, Sep 29: Millions of people in Mumbai and across Maharashtra trooped out on the streets Saturday to bid adieu to the elephant headed-Lord Ganesha at the end of the 10-day Ganeshotsav (festival) amid tight security at the immersion ceremonies, officials said.
The day was marked with colourful revelry among men, women, youth and children, dancing and singing bhajans as over 90,000 big and small idols of Lord Ganesha were taken out since Saturday morning in Mumbai.
Another estimated 400,000 idols were taken out for immersions in the rest of Maharashtra in the state’s biggest religious festival.
Besides the traditional immersion hotspots like Girgaum Chowpatty, and beaches at Shivaji Park, Worli, Juhu, Versova, Marve, Gorai, Madh Island, Thane Creek, the idols were immersed at several other spots including wells, lakes, ponds and 20 artificial immersion sites created by the city municipal corporations.
Tight security, traffic and safety arrangements have been made by various agencies to facilitate smooth and incident-free immersions ceremonies during the day.
The Mumbai police have set up a special control room at Girgaum Chowpatty, where a majority of the gigantic idols from south and central Mumbai shall be immersed along with the smaller household idols.
Securitymen atop 37 watch towers were keeping an eye from above at the seaside immersion spots, while Indian Navy and Coast Guard helicopters conducted sorties to ward off any untoward incidents.
According to Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS) President N. Dahibhavkar, the fourth and final phase of immersions Saturday included around 8,500 idols from mandals (committees). Around 1,800 such mandal idols were immersed on the second, fifth and seventh days of the fest.
As many as 350 BSGSS lifeguards are on alert at all the big immersion spots besides 250 BMC lifeguards at 65 major immersion spots.
Nearly 50 percent of another 165,000 smaller household idols that were worshipped during the festival shall be immersed Saturday, Dahibhavkar added.
Over 25,000 police personnel, along with two companies of Rapid Action Force, one company of BSF, four companies of SRPF are on duty besides other agencies and private security groups.
The traffic police has imposed heavy restrictions on vehicular movement to facilitate smooth immersions by closing 37 important roads from 12 noon Saturday till 6 a.m. Sunday. Fifty roads were made one-way, no parking was allowed on 61 roads and heavy vehicles were banned on 13 major roads across the city.
Some of the biggest idols of Lord Ganesh include Lalbaugcha Raja, Ganesh Gullycha Raja, and others which are over 15 feet tall were taken out in huge processions.
The Western Railway, Central Railway will operate special suburban services tonight and BEST services will run special buses to clear the huge rush of devotees returning home after immersions.
Post-immersions, Sunday will be day of cleaning up the city beaches for which school, college students, youths, NGOs and political parties will lend a helping hand to the sanitation workers to clean the city after the conclusion of the festival.