Mumbai, Aug 22: On the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi devotees flocked to worship the 'Lalbaug Ka Raja', a 23-feet long Ganpati idol in Dadar.
"I wait whole year to see Lord Ganpati. I am very excited and happy to see idol of Lord Ganpati," said Meena Patil, a devotee.
Both skilled and unskilled labourers from different parts of the country come to the metropolis to sculpt Ganesh idols. Over 20,000 artisans get jobs in Mumbai alone before the annual festival every year.
Meanwhile, preparations for the festival are in full swing in Dadar in Mumbai.
Markets are thronging with devotees, who are busy buying decorative items.
"Preparations are in full swing for the festival. We are eagerly waiting to welcome Lord Ganpati. Several ornaments like necklace and other decorative items for Ganpati are available in the market," said Omakar Munde, another devotee.
The festival will begin on Sunday and would continue for 10 days.
At the end of the 10-day long festival, idols of Lord Ganesha are taken out in grand processions and immersed in water bodies.
During the festival, Ganesha idols are worshipped at hundreds of 'pandals' or makeshift tents before they are immersed in water bodies.
Ganesh Chaturthi was a personal and private affair till last century. But at the turn of the century, freedom fighter Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak started using it as a platform for political propaganda against British colonial rule.
The festival is also popular in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Gujarat.
Legend has it that Hindu Goddess Parvati created Ganesh from a perfumed putty-like substance, used to remove dirt from her body in an ancient self-cleansing ritual, the equivalent of a modern bath.
Suspecting her fidelity, Parvati's husband Lord Shiva, one of the three most powerful Gods in the Hindu pantheon, flew into rage and beheaded the young lad. This left Parvati in distress and rage.
When Lord Shiva realised that the boy was created by Parvati, he brought him back to life by slaying an elephant and giving him the animal's head. Thus was Ganesh created.
Lord Ganesha is also called 'Vinayak', the God of Knowledge and the 'Vigneshwara', the remover of obstacles.