First glimpse of Lalbaug cha Raja | Ganesh Chaturthi 2023 | Darshan timings, Travel and Other Details

Ganesh Utsav is just a few days away, and devotees are awaiting the first glimpse of Bappa with utmost patience and lots of enthusiasm. Mumbaikars are ready to celebrate the much awaited festival, and one can witness various events marking the 'Aagman Sohala' of Bappa. Lalbaug cha Raja - the popular mandal based in Lalbaug, is one of the several favourite pandals that is all set to witness high footfall this year too. Amidst much fanfare, the first look of Lalbaug cha Raja was revealed on Friday (September 15). And needless to say, Bappa's royal avatar made for a beautiful glimpse. 

This year too, the 10-day long celebration will be a grand affair.And, it will also be a poignant moment for the mandal as well as several loyal devotees, who have over the years, enjoyed the stunning backdrop and decor created by renowned art director - Late Nitin Chandrakant Desai. Every year, Desai's stunning art work and touch of royalty would turn into a big attraction during the festive season. Post 2015, he also started designing the throne.

This year, the celebration shall witness one of Desai's final work as an artist. For this year, the theme is designed to pay a tribute and mark the 350th year of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's coronation. Based on the 'Raigad Killa' backdrop, Lalbaug cha Raja shall be seen sitting on a majestic 25-ft throne, exactly like the one that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj occupied in the fort. The background of the pandal is said to be inspired by the main entrance of the fort, called the Nagarkhana.

Read: Lalbaug cha Raja - Through the pages of history

Like every year, devotees will have two Darshan options. These include: The Mukh Darshan queue - whereby you can take Bappa's Darshan and blessings from a little far away (this queue usually takes 15-30 mins). The other queue - 'Navsachi Rang' (known as the queue for devotees who want to fulfil their vows) - usually takes around 9-10 hours and can even stretch to 18 hours on a crowded day (especially weekends). Devotees taking Darshan via Navsachi rang get 'charan sparsh' and Darshan on the main podium. This year, the Mukh Darshan and Navasachi Rang begins with an aarti at 4am on 19 September 2023. Darshan will remain open round-the-clock till visarjan day, which falls on 28 September 2023.

Planning your travel to Lalbaug

Train: Board the train to Chinchpokli or Byculla station. For western line, you can board the train and get down at Lower Parel (walking distance 7-10 mins). The Mukh Darshan queue can be approached from B.R Ambedkar road. The landmark for Lalbaug cha Raja would be Lalbaug Market.

Road: Several BEST buses ply from all over the city. Since a chunk of the road (starting from Ganesh Gully) is usually closed during all 10 days of the festivals, you can get down at 'Bharatmata Cinema' bus stop and walk all the way till Lalbaug Market. Meanwhile, you can also visit other famous mandals such as 'Mumbai cha Raja', 'Tejukaya mansion' among others on the way. Try and opt for public transport, as parking is not easily available during the festival. If you are traveling by your own vehicle, some of the parking options available include: Kalpataru Pay and Park at S.S Rao Road (near Gandhi Hospital, Parel) with a capacity of 200 cars. M.C.G.M Pay and Park (Lodha) at G.D Ambedkar Road (at Kalachowky) with a capacity of 500 cars. Cottongreen Pay and Park (B.P.T near Cottongreen Railway station) in Kalachowky area, with a capacity of 5000 cars and the M.C.G.M Pay and Park (Peninsula Land) at the Dr. B.A Road near Bawala Compound, Byculla (east), with a capacity of 500 cars. You will then have to walk 10-15 mins towards the main pandal area. 

Get ready to welcome Bappa! Do let us know if you would be visiting Lalbaug cha Raja and other mandals in Mumbai.
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Priya Adivarekar

Priya Adivarekar - Founder and Creative Director at Diary of a Dancebee. She is also a renowned Voice Actress and award winning artiste, with serious passion for dance. When not working round the clock, she can be seen reading, enjoying a movie-binge or listening to music.
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