On the auspicious occasion of Kartik Poornima this Tuesday, Banganga will be illuminated with over a 1,000 oil lamps (diyas) and is set to witness a maha aarti, similar to the Ganga aarti performed in Varanasi.
The maha aarti at the tank, which will start at 6.30 p.m., is being organised by the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Temple Trust in collaboration with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation to promote religious tourism in the State.
Gauranga Prabhu, one of the leaders from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) will be presiding over the event.
Recreating Ganga aarti
Started in 2016, this is the fourth consecutive year for the event. We have been organising the traditional deepotsav for many years, but we started performing the maha aarti in 2016. The idea is to recreate the same experience one would have in Varanasi during the Ganga puja. It is for all those who cannot go there to witness it, said Rutvik Aurangabadkar, executive administrator of the GSB Temple Trust, adding that they receive tremendous support for the event every year.
Now that the Ayodhya case judgement is out, we are even more excited. We can celebrate the verdict in Mumbai itself. We are expecting more than 5,000 devotees to attend the maha aarti this year. It is a different experience altogether, Mr. Aurangabadkar said.
The GSB Temple Trust was registered in 1879 and has been looking after the Banganga and Walkeshwar premises since then.
Although it is unusual for a trust to hold a property card, we have been given the proprietary rights of the area. As of now, we are planning its preservation and beautification, said Pravin Kanvinde, its chairman.
A brief history
The Banganga, also known as the Banganga Talao, is a tank-like structure located on the ancient Walkeshwar Temple premises in south Mumbai. It has a mythological origin tracing back to the era of lord Ram. As per legend, lord Ram is said to have halted at this site while he was on his quest to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana. Lord Ram got thirsty and in order to quench his thirst, he shot an arrow (baan) in the ground and a freshwater tributary sprouted from below the surface. Today, the spot where he shot the arrow is marked by a pole standing in the centre of the tank. It is one of the oldest historical sites in the city.