LUCKNOW: The postal department's load of letters may have drastically reduced with the advent of technology, but Lord Ganesha is getting sacks full of letters from his devotees these days.
In nearly half a dozen Ganesha pandals in Lucknow, Ganpati is known as "Manautiyon ke Raja" (the king of wishes) and devotes seeking a solution to their problems write letters to the Lord and put it in a designated box.
Arvind Kushwaha, one of the organisers at the Jhulelal Park pandal says, "We have started the 'Manautiyon Ke Raja' pandal this year and we are getting two to three sack full of letters every day. We even provide pen and paper to the devotees so that they can write their letters in the pandal itself."
The letters are read out before the Ganpati idol by the priests hoping that their prayers are answered.
"This is the belief that people have in Lord Ganesha. We are getting letters for solving litigations, pleas for jobs and requests for a good marriage partners. We have even received letters from people who are worried about the welfare of their friends in Kashmir. Some have petitioned for a promotion and some want relief from income tax problems. There are cases that should logically go to court but here it is only Ganesha who matters," said Rajiv Khanna, a member of the organising team.
The Ganpati Utsav is now celebrated in a big way in Lucknow even though the state capital does not have a sizeable Marathi population.
The festival has grown in magnitude over the years in the city and almost every colony now has a Ganpati pandal of its own.
"This year, we have sold the maximum number of small idols that people take to their homes. We did not comprehend the rush of customers and ran out of idols," said Atul Prajapati, an idol maker.
The craze for Bal Ganesha has also been unprecedented this year.
"Those who bring Ganesha home are opting for Bal Ganesha while the pandals prefer big idols," said Atul.
The district administration is also facing a major problem during "visarjan" when idols are immersed in the Gomti river. "We did not think that there would be such a massive rush this year. We have designated only the Jhulelal Ghat for immersion and are trying our best to cope with the rush," said a senior district official.