|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2012)|
Lalbaug is a neighborhood in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, which lies in the approximate centerl of Mumbai, near Dadar and Parel. It is a well-known center for reunions of Hindus during their festivals, especially the Ganesh festival.
Lalbaug is the center of several mills that flourished in Mumbai during British rule, including the Kohinoor Mill, the Finlay Mill, and the Morarjee Mill. At the height of operation, most of the community worked in these mills, which were a major source of income.
The mandal, or administrative division (formerly known as "Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Lalbaug") was founded in 1934 after a vow (navas) to construct the present Lalbaug Market at its existing location after the marketplace at Peru Chawl was closed in 1932. The fishermen and vendors who had done business in the open market prayed to Ganesha for a permanent place for their market. With the efforts and support of then local councillor the late Shri. Kuwarji Jethabhai Shah, Dr. V.B. Korgaonkar, Shri. Nakhawa Kokam Mama, Bhausaheb Shinde, Dr. U.A. Rao and the local residents, the landlord Rajabai Tayyabali agreed to give a plot for construction of a market. As fulfillment of their wish, the fisherman and the traders established the Ganesh Idol on 12 September 1934. The idol was dressed in the customary fashion of fisherman and, from that day forward, the Lord Ganesh has become popular, fulfilling the wishes of devotees. The mandal of Lalbaug was formed at a time when the freedom struggle was at its peak.
Due to the communal riots in 1946, orders were issued to change the route of the Ganesh Immersion Procession. However, the office-bearers of the mandal refused to change the route and, after 21 days, the procession followed the same route under the supervision of the Volunteers Pandurang, which included Babu Sayle, M.S. Pawar and Dattaram Joshi. After independence, the agenda of the mandal was modified and accordingly, it decided to contribute to the improvement of the country. The mandal donated its available assets to the Kasturba Fund, the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Fund in 1947, and to the Bihar Flood Relief Fund in 1959. The social issues were highlighted in the plots during the Ganesh Festival.
During the Silver Jubilee in 1958, two different programs were presented: "Geeta Upadesh" and "Kaliya Mardan," which were set for five days each. Eminent speakers delivered speeches, including M.L. Patil, Minister of Bombay State, Ganapatrao Tapase, Govindrao Adik, Maloji Nimbalkar, Municipal Corporator Dr. Narvane, Govinrao Mahashbde, Dy. editor Navakaal, Vasantrao Kate, Govardhandas Mapara of Kamgar Seva Sadan and Kakasaheb Tambe.
After 1958, the number of devotees of Lalbaugcha Raja increased substantially. In 1960, the entertainment programs and speeches were discontinued. In the same year, "Navratri Utsav" was begun and the programs were organized during the Navratri Festival. These transitions were carefully and neatly carried out by Chandrakant Khadye, Chunilal Rathod, Pranjivan Mehta and Shankar More. During this period, the late Shri. Shamraom V. Bodhe handed over the Hanuman Temple to the mandal.
From 1948 to 1968, the mandal began new traditions including "Shri Satyanarayan Mahapooja" and "Pan-supari Samarambha (Get Together Function)". The "Get Together Function" is the ceremony of celebration, offering rolls of betel leaf with betel nuts, known as pan-supari in Marathi. Notable personalities of various fields, office bearers of various mandals and well-wishers are invited to this ceremony, which creates a friendly atmosphere for coordination and exchange of views for improvement of the festival, and helps improve relationships among various mandals. As a result, the mandal of Lalbaugh established a strong relationship with mandals of Kumbharwada, Durgadevi Duncan Road, Kamathipura, Khetwadi, Navi Amrutwadi, and others. The participation of local mandals at night was begun to control large number of devotees.
From 1934 to 1968, Kunwarji J. Shah, Dr. V.B. Korgaonkar, H.B. Korgaonkar, Dr. U.A. Rao, Dr. Manju Madar, Ramchandra Tawate, B.D. Bandekar, Raghunath Khamkar, Pranjeevan Mehta, Rambali Halwai and Ram Jadhav were the primary individuals responsible for development of the mandal. The money raised from the various mandal activities was used primarily for the development of the nation. Lalbaug contributed to the National Fund during the floods in Bihar in 1959, and during the wars in 1962 and 1965.
In 1969, a new generation with a wide view became involved in the mandal under the leadership of the late Shri Vasantrao Bhosale. The increased workload at the mandal led to a need for more space. In 1970, renovation of the Hanuman Temple was proposed. The renovation work commenced in 1971 and was completed in 1973, in addition to a new office for the mandal. In 1975, the Idol of Amba Mata (Goddess Amba) was established in the temple, and the religious duties of the Navratri festival were carried out in the temple thereafter.
Since 1976, a portion of the balance of the funds of the mandal was deposited as "Shikshan Imarat Nidhi".
Lalbaug is the first mandal to contribute Rs.1 Lakh to the Army Central Welfare Fund in 1999 for the families of the soldiers who died defending the Nation at Kargil. The same amount was turned over to the governor of Maharashtra State, Dr. P.C. Alexander.
Traditionally, the Ganesh idols are immersed in water during Visarjan Tarafa. In order to immerse the idol of Lalbaugcha Raja, the mandal ensures that the Visarjan is conducted in a precise manner. After consulting with experts and experienced individuals, the mandal purchased a tarafa (iron raft), which makes it possible to submerge the idol of Lalbaugcha Raja in deep seawater. The tarafa is prepared by M/s. A.V. Engineering. In 2010-2011 the tarafas were imported from Australia.
In 2014, the mandal of Lalbaug expected approximately 1.5 million people to visit the visarjan of "Great Raja".
Laulbaug is a well-known center for reunions of Hindus during their festivals, especially the Ganesh festival. There are prominent Ganeshotsav organizations in and around Lalbaug, as well as many sculpture workshops. Prior to the Ganesh festival, these workshops are flooded with various-sized statues of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god worshiped by the people.