Lalbaugcha Raja, established in 1934, is an iconic Ganpati Pandal in Mumbai. Starting off as a small endeavor, it has grown into a symbol of unity with great historical importance. During the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, it attracts an astonishing 1.5 million visitors per day and features a huge idol that is believed to grant devotees’ wishes. The pandal’s magnificence, elaborate decorations, and tales of wishes coming true make it a destination that shouldn’t be missed.
History of Lalbaughcha Raja-
In the year 1930, there was an open market at Lalbaugh, close to Peru Chawl, where Mumbai’s fishermen would gather to sell their catch. However, the British authorities closed down the chawl in 1932, leaving the fishermen without a place to sell their fish in the open.
Their prayers were eventually answered when local councilors, along with the cooperation of the community, managed to secure a plot of land from landlord Rajabai Tayyabali for the construction of a new market.
As a way of expressing their gratitude to Lord Ganesha, the fishermen who were relieved to have a new market constructed, decided to celebrate Ganeshotsav in a grand manner in 1934. The result of this was the establishment of Lalbaughcha Raja, which earned the title of ‘Navsala Paavnara Ganapati’ (meaning ‘wish fulfilling Ganapati’).
Ever since then, Lalbaugcha Raja has been celebrated annually, with people from different parts of the world coming to seek blessings and have their wishes fulfilled.
Who makes Lalbaugcha Raja Murti?
Since 1935 (more than eight decades), the Kambli family has been entrusted with the task of crafting the idol for Mumbai’s renowned Ganesh pandal, Lalbaugcha Raja.
Kambli Arts is the original creator of the Lalbaugcha Raja. Since 1920, they have been producing Ganpati idols. However, it wasn’t until 1935, one year after its establishment, that they started creating the popular idol for the Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal. The late Madhusudan D Kambli was the first sculptor commissioned to create the Lalbaugcha Raja idol in 1935. Over time, his sons and grandsons have taken on the responsibility, of carrying on the family tradition.
Following the passing of Madhusudhan in the early 1950s, his two sons Ratnakar and Venkatesh took over the family business and have been overseeing its operations ever since. Ratnakar Madhusudhan Kambli, who now manages Kambli Arts, produces over 200 miniature replicas of Lalbaugcha Raja annually at his workshop in Chinchpokli. These scaled-down idols are only 2 feet tall and sold to private households.
Throughout the years, the Kambli family has maintained certain essential aspects of the idol’s design. These include the expressive eyes of Bappa, the facial features, and the human-like body structure of the idol. Venkatesh Kambli was responsible for designing the face of Lalbaugcha Raja, which is faithfully replicated each year. The only aspect that undergoes change is the Lalbaugcha Raja’s chair while the other features remain consistent.
Their customer base has expanded over the years, and they now receive orders for idols from people in Switzerland, Australia, Holland, France, and the United States.
Why Lalbaughcha Raja is so famous?
Lalbaugcha Raja has been traditionally regarded as a Navsacha Ganpati (a deity who grants all wishes). Therefore, millions of people make their way to Lalbaugcha Raja during the ten-day Ganesh Chaturthi Festival seeking blessings.
There are two queues available at Lalbaugcha Raja Mandal.
Navsachi Line:- The Navsachi Line is a unique line where devotees can touch the deity’s feet and receive his blessings to have their wishes fulfilled. The waiting period for the Navsachi Line varies greatly and is unpredictable. One should be prepared to wait for at least 10 to 20 hours.
Mukh Darshanachi Line:- The line called Mukh Darshanachi Line is specifically for getting a glimpse or darshan of Lalbaugcha Raja from a distance. As the name suggests, visitors are only able to see the deity’s face from a certain distance. The waiting time in this line can reach up to 8 hours or more, particularly on weekends. It is advised to plan your visit accordingly, taking this waiting period into consideration.