Ganesh Chaturthi: Mandal Hopping in Pune – II

Read the latest version of this blog post here.

Lord Ganesha, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

After a lovely day in the midst of Ganesh Chaturthi festivities in Pune, we awoke to a bright morning in the city.

With all the mandals in the snooze mode until evening time, we opted to spend the morning walking along Main Street (MG Road).

A large part of this area remains unchanged from the last time I was here (was it 7 or 8 years ago?). And again, a flood of memories came by: unbeatable potato chips from Budhani Waferwala, brand new school uniforms from Indo-Foreign Stores, endless shopping in “Wonderland”, and MARZORIN!

And so, we headed right into the popular haunt “Marzorin” to sample the yummy sandwiches and milkshakes. No school Christmas party was ever complete without the sandwiches from Marzorin! As we sat there, relishing every bite (and sip), with a pretty balcony view over Main Street (as we referred to it so many times), I was very grateful for some things (the good things, of course) that remained unchanged. Change is definitely good, but sometimes, the “unchanged” brings a lot of joy.

When I started planning this trip to Pune, I had firm orders from my husband that there must be only 2 items on the itinerary: Festival and Food. And I tried to do justice to both.

Thus, in the evening, we found ourselves in the ever-bustling restaurant “Vaishali” on Fergusson College Road, feasting on some goodies, including the much-in-demand SPDP (Sev Potato Dahi Puri, for the uninitiated :)).

All set for mandal-hopping!

Off to the vibrant Laxmi Road and Kumthekar Road for larger-than-life sets, gigantic statues of deities, bright lights, large crowds and another marvelous mandal-hopping evening.

Triumph of good over evil, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

An “action” scene from the Ramayana, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

Extravagant set, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

The majestic Lord Ganesha, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

Laser lights, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

A 65-ft statue of Lord Hanuman, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

Glitzy lights, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

The gentle God, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

Spot Him in the eye, Ganesh Chaturthi, Pune

These pictures are just a sample of the spectacular sights that awaited us at every corner. The scale and the grandeur of the festivities, the endless enthusiasm of everyone around, the innovative themes, the adoration for Lord Ganesha: awe-inspiring and humbling, at the same time.

At the end of a few hours, we reluctantly returned to the hotel.

The next morning, some quick shopping for the yummy bhakarvadis and pedas at Chitale’s was followed by lunch and our departure from Pune. Oh yes, we also added some modaks to our shopping basket!

I’m sure we’ll back in Pune for a longer stay during another Ganesh Chaturthi. The charm and vibrant atmosphere of this 10-day long festival is a truly unique experience.