Eight prominent Ganesh Mandals in Pune announced on Thursday that the Ganesh festival this year will be celebrated in a "simple and traditional manner" to avoid crowding in view of the coronavirus threat.
Office-bearers of five `Manache' (revered) Ganpati' -- Kasba Ganpati, Tambadi Jogehwari, Guruji Talim, Tulshibaug and Kesari Wada -- and the trustees of Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, Bhau Rangari and Akhil Mandai Ganesh Mandals appealed all the mandals (groups) to keep the celebrations simple.
The Ganesh festival in Pune, which has a tradition going back more than a hundred years, attracts huge crowds.
The final-day immersion procession often goes on for more than 24 hours and lakhs of people throng the roads.
Though the festival is some months away, preparations start early.
Office-bearers of the eight big mandals had an online meeting, where it was agreed upon that the festival should be low-key this year.
"We have canceled all the public events, prize distributions, competitions this year to ensure there will not be any crowding," said Shrikant Shete, one of the main trustees of Kasba Ganesh Mandal.
Norms and guidelines prescribed by the administration will be followed in true letter and spirit, he said.
Interestingly, the Mandals have also appealed idol makers not to show the idols wearing masks.
"No Mandal or those who celebrate the festival at home should put masks on the idol," Shete appealed.
Thursday's was the preliminary meeting of eight mandals and once lockdown is lifted, another meeting involving all the prominent mandals will be organised, he said.