This includes the city’s tallest idol, the Khetwadi Chi Aai of Khetwadi 12th Lane, which is 31 ft in height. Moortikar Arun Datte has crafted this lifelike masterpiece of the goddess in action as she rides a rearing white horse — an ode to Chhatrapati Shivaji on the 350th anniversary of his coronation.
Shivaji Maharaj drew strength from the worship of Goddess Bhavani. And Khetwadi’s Devi wields an elaborate set of weapons including a mace, sword and trident, in her Ashtabhuja (eight armed) avatar.
Mandal chief Rajesh Magam says the 41-year-old pandal started in 1982 with the modest worship of a photo frame of Goddess Ambe. “We then began to source small idols from Pen, progressed to 7-8 ft moortis, then 12 ft onward to 20 ft idols. This year we have broken our own past record with our 31 ft Devi,” he said.
Pratiksha Nagar in Sion is home to 15-16 prominent Navratra mandals, of which two have adopted a similar theme of Lord Krishna this year. One is the Mumbaichi Aai Bhavani, whose centrepiece is an 18 ft Devi, again carved by Arun Datte. Organiser Pravin Manjrekar said, “We always create theme-based pandals and this year we have chosen the Shri Krishna ‘gatha’ (saga). Vignettes from Krishna’s life are depicted in the backdrop and the Devi resembles Radha.”
Another attraction in Pratiksha Nagar is the intricate tableau of Mumbaichi Mauli by moortikar Siddhesh Dighole. This also derives inspiration from Lord Krishna, specifically the underwater slaying of the demon snake Kaliya. “Our idol is 6.5 ft tall but the entire tableau measures 12 ft,” said organiser Avinash Kirve. “Our aagman is on Sunday because it is only after we place the moorti indoors that we can begin work on decorating the exterior.” The 24-year-old mandal is looking forward to its silver jubilee in 2024.
Moortikar Siddhesh Dighole has no less than eight ‘aagman’ processions scheduled to leave his Parel workshop for their pandals Sunday. He is particularly proud of his creations for Saki Naka, Asalpha and Sundar Nagar, Dadar. One shows the goddess wielding a large trident as she balances atop a ‘damru’. Another is in Saraswati avatar while one Devi resembles Rajrajeshwari, complete with Lord Ganesh and Kartikeya alongside.
Meanwhile idols from the Vijay Khatu Studio will head to Nanded apart from Vakola and Chunabhatti in Mumbai. “The 12 ft moorti carved for Vakola is Mansadevi, which is a snake goddess. Nanded has chosen a stately 12 ft deity while a very creative mandal in the red light area of Kamathipura got us to craft Khodiyar Ma,” said workshop owner Reshma Khatu.