The first thing that most Mumbaikars did on the auspicious day of Diwali was to offer prayers at nearby temples. Some others travelled far to offer prayers as thousands queued and waited for hours outside temples.
Sarita Gupta, a resident of Chembur, who waited for over two hours at Mahalakshmi temple said, “I come here every year and this has always been the best way to start the celebrations for me.” Sarita also plans to pick up puja materials like lotus, pots and diyas on the her way back home. “I still have some decorations left to do in the house. The queue at the temple has delayed me.”
Another regular at the Mumbadevi Temple, Jyoti Pratam, was amazed at the size of the crowd. “I have never seen such a huge crowd before. I don’t live with my family. So I always make it a point to offer prayers and take part in the puja,” she said.
BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Dadar East performed chopda pujan in the evening. Rohit Naik, a committee member, said, “People observe chopda pujan inside their houses. But we do a large-scale puja where a large numbers of devotees can keep their account books in the temple. More than 1,000 books were kept for puja this time.”
Dilip Sanghvi and his family visited Shree Godiji Parshwanath temple in Byculla twice on the day of Diwali. “We started the day by going to the temple early in the morning and went again late in the evening. We do this every year.” Dilip, a chartered accountant, performed an elaborate chopda pujan at his house in Mazgaon. “I attach a lot of importance to chopda pujan. I bought fresh cash books, bank books and ledger that I kept along with other account books for puja,” added Dilip
Jeevan Jain, who runs a diagnostic centre in Lalbaug, celebrated the festival at his clinic with family and staff. They also went to offer prayers at Mahalakshmi temple in the evening. “The clinic was decked with diyas, lanterns and rangoli. We had a small puja in the clinic where we kept all the hospital registers in front of the diety. After gorging on sweets and participating in the festive fervor, we ended our celebrations at the Mahalakshmi temple like every year,” said Jeevan.