Devotees welcomed the God of good luck and prosperity — Lord Ganesha — to their homes and community pandals amid fanfare as the 10-day-long festival devoted to the much beloved deity commenced with religious fervour.

IMAGE: A devotee takes Ganesha for a ride across the city on the first day of the 10-day festival. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

The festival commenced with devotees installing masterly-sculpted idols of their most beloved and venerated deity, Ganesha, in their homes and beautifully decorated pandals across the city.

Believers, attired in traditional clothes, installing colourfully-crafted idols of the elephant-headed God in their homes and tastefully decorated pandals across the state, including in major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.

IMAGE: A devotee carries an idol of the Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, to a place of worship on the first day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival.. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who installed an eco-friendly Ganesh idol at his home, appealed the public to celebrate the festival in an environment-friendly manner.

“HappyGaneshChaturthi to all! Let’s celebrate & enjoy Ganeshotsav the environment friendly way.#ganapatibappamorya,” he tweeted.

The mood was full of gaiety and devotion, with chants of ‘Ganpati Bappa Morya‘ reverberating across Maharashtra.

IMAGE: Revellers bring home Lord Ganesha. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

In Mumbai, devotees took part in ‘aarti’ at several temples, including the famous Prabhadevi-based Siddhivinayak Temple.

This year, megastar Amitabh Bachchan has lent his voice for an ‘aarti’ at SiddhivinayakTemple. The 73-year-old actor tweeted that it was a “blessing” for him to be given the “divine honour”.

IMAGE: Devotees full of gaiety and devotion walk with the idol of Lord Ganesh. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Several popular Ganesh Mandals were thronged by devotees since wee hours, with the popular Lalbaugcha Raja starting prayers at 4 am, followed by darshan at 6 am.

Other prominent Ganesh mandals like GSB Seva Mandal in Kings circle, has a 14-feet long idol made of clay while Wadala GSB Mandal has designed its pandal like the famous TirupatiBalaji Temple. These pandals witnessed long queues of people waiting to get darshan of the God of Wisdom.

IMAGE: An idol of the Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, is loaded onto a supply truck on the first day of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Ahmedabad. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Bollywood personalities like Salman Khan, Jeetendra, Nana Patekar, Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, Shilpa Shetty, Suresh Wadekar, Govinda and a host of Marathi film and theatre actors are the prominent names who celebrate Ganesh festival at their homes by installing idols.

In Nagpur, Union Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari performed the traditional rituals in presence of his family members at his residence ‘Gadkari Wada’ in Mahal area in the eastern part of the city.

IMAGE: Devotees ask for the Lord’s blessing. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

As many as 1,163 Ganesh idols are being installed at public places in Nagpur, as per the city Police Information Centre.

Police have beefed up security for the festival across the state.

[source;rediff.com]