Want to sponsor Andhericha Raja? You will have to wait till 2058

Mumbai

It may not be the richest or the biggest Ganesh mandal, but those desirous of sponsoring the western suburb's most prominent Ganesh idol Andhericha Raja will have to wait 45 years.

Typically, the mandal chooses a family as a sponsor through a lottery every year. This family gets to perform the puja at the beginning of the 10-day long festival, for which they donate Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

"Every year, we have about a dozen families keen to sponsor the Ganesh idol as their wishes have come true. Unfortunately, we have to turn down their requests as we have already taken bookings till 2058," said Uday Salian, spokesperson for Andhericha Raja Sarvanjanik Ganeshotsav Mandal.

"This year also, we had to turn down a request from a Hong Kong-based family that wanted to donate for the idol as their wish for a son was granted after seven years of marriage," said Salian.

"My family wanted to sponsor the Ganesh idol this year. But due to the long waiting list, we will now sponsor silver bangles," said Sudhakar Pujari, the Hong Kong-based professional.

The mandal, which is planning to construct a replica of Pune's famous Mahaganapati Temple in Ranjangaon, will set up a 4,500-sq ft stage for the 8.5 ft tall idol this year. The mandal's unique offerings include not only Indian currency but US dollars as well.

The mandal uses the funds to reserve a bed at Nanavati hospital, which can be used by residents from the neighbourhood for free treatment. Other offerings include hands and ears made of gold and a house made of silver to signify the dream of every Mumbaikar of having a house.

The crowd-puller at Andheri's Veera Desai road, which attracts more than 20 lakh visitors every year, has again imposed a dress code for devotees.

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