iReport: Mumbai's prettiest neighborhood Ganesha

iReport: Mumbai's prettiest neighborhood Ganesha

During Ganesh Chathurthi last week American iReporter Deanna Rodrigues found this big guy in Borivali

Ganesha idol"My most recent experience with the Ganesh Chathurthi festival was a reminder of the religious tolerance that India enjoys," says CNNGo reader and traveler Deanna Rodrigues from New York.

I was fortunate to be in Mumbai at the beginning of the Ganesha Chathurthi festival this year.

I visited three mandals in Borivali with larger-than-life idols of Lord Ganesha, one of which is from IC Colony, shown in the picture above.

Since there was a crowd on the first day, I visited the mandal on the second evening of the festival.

Prayers, rituals, ceremonies, dramas and other festivities were held each evening at the above community mandal.

Besides, a few families around the neighborhood where I stayed during my vacation brought home smaller Ganesha murtis for worship and I was surprised to learn that many of these were biodegradable.

Green Ganesha 2011

On talking with the people in IC colony, Borivali, I was informed that they opted for Ganpati murtis that were biodegradable, because that would not pollute the seas nor harm the eco-system once the murtis  were immersed into the city's lakes, ponds and the sea.

In the past, Ganesha idols were made of plastic, toxic paints and plastic bags used to carry flowers which affected the sea's marine life. Hence, I was happy to learn that the people in India were as environmentally conscious as in the West.

Chants of 'Ganpati babba morya' filled the air every time a family brought home a biodegradable Ganesha murti and when they took it to immerse in the sea one and a half days after the start of the 10-day festival.

A reminder of religious tolerance

During my recent two-week stay in India I had the opportunity to see and celebrate three festivals -- two Hindu and one Muslim: Govinda, Ganesh Chathurthi and Eid ul fitr.

Despite the blaring noise from the loudspeakers every evening, the interruption to traffic from the mandals which are erected by the roadside and the increased crowds due to the festival season, the spirit of goodwill filled the air and people of all religions were very accommodating and joined in the Ganesh Chathurthi festivities in IC Colony, Borivali.

I was invited into the Ganesh mandal to participate in the festivities and have prasad when I visited to take pictures, even though I am Catholic.

Similarly, even though IC Colony has a large percentage of Catholics besides Hindus and Muslims, everyone was excited and participated in the evening events of this Hindu festival.

This was a reminder to me of religious tolerance among the people of India where Indians know about and celebrate all Indian festivals irrespective of their caste, creed or religion.

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