Pune city and the industrial township of Pimpri-Chinchwad welcomed Lord Ganesh on day one of the 11-day festival amid chants of 'Ganpati Bappa Morya' and beats of the traditional dhol-tasha.
In Pune, not even spells of rain could dampen the spirits of citizens celebrating the festival with their friends and family. City markets were crowded on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning with citizens buying Ganesh idols.
On Thursday morning, Ganesh idols were installed in most homes in the traditional manner. The festival is celebrated till Anant Chaturdashi, which is on September 11.
Early on Thursday morning, large processions were taken out by various Ganpati mandals to take the idols to their pandals. Activists of mandals joined the processions in large numbers with enthusiasm, wearing traditional dress. Troupes playing traditional instruments like dhol-tasha added to the atmosphere.
Participation of children in the processions was significant. Presentation of martial arts was done in some processions.
Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Sarvajanik Ganpati Trust has prepared a replica of Ramkrishna Math of Belur, West Bengal. The decoration prepared by the trust was inaugurated on Thursday. Many other mandals have completed the decorations and people turned up in large numbers in the evening to observe the decorations.
Police security was beefed up in the city for the festival to prevent any untoward incident. Electronic surveillance is being used widely this year to keep vigil.
In Pimpri-Chinchwad, an estimated 1,046 Ganesh mandals and 60,000 households are celebrating the festival. The police saidseveral new mandals have come up in various parts. Among the 1,046 mandals, 546 mandals were registered and had taken proper permission, while 500 mandals were not registered. The highest number of registered mandals were from Pimpri, Bhosari, Sangvi, Hinjewadi, Chatuhshrungi and Dehu Road Police Chowki.
The police also said that nearly 60,000 families in Pimpri-Chinchwad were celebrating the festival. The police have asked all prominent mandals to install CCTV cameras for increased security. Citizens have been asked to contact the police department on 26122880 if they notice anything untoward or suspicious.