From Mumbai, ‘Border cha Raja’ heads for temple in Poonch

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From Mumbai, ‘Border cha Raja’ heads for temple in Poonch
The idol at the workshop in Mumbai. Express

A Jammu woman is taking three Ganpati idols from the city back to her state – one for a temple in Poonch near the Line of Control where she lives, and the other two for two Maratha regiments based there.

The Ganpati for the temple is a 6.5 ft idol called India-Pakistan Border cha Raja. The two other idols are much smaller at one ft each.
This is not the first time Kiranbala Isher is transporting an idol for the Ganesh Chaturthi festival from Mumbai. She has been doing it for the last four years. The big idol is travelling in the luggage van.

When the Centre revoked the special status of J&K and made two Union Territories out of the state, Kiranbala was already in the city. She is hoping that despite the restrictions – Jammu does not have as many compared to Kashmir – the idol will get the customary welcome by committee members of the Poonch-based Shiv Durga Bhairav Mandir Trust and her own family members.

Isher, who runs an NGO called Progressive Nation to support the causes of soldiers and martyrs, boarded the Swaraj Express on Monday, which left from Bandra Terminus at 7.55 am.


Usually, a crowd of people gather to receive the idol at Jammu, and transport it to the Shiv Durga Bhairav Mandir all the way to Poonch, on the Line of Control. However, with Section 144 CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) in place, which prohibits an assembly of more than four people in an area, a large gathering may not be allowed this year. “I don’t know what’s in store once I reach there. I’m waiting for instructions from the administration,” she said.

Isher states that people of all communities in Poonch partake and support in the festivities which include bhajan kirtan and the daily aarti among other activities.

The idol is created by specially abled artist Vikrant Pandhre at his workshop in Shri Siddhivinayak Chitrashala, LBS road, Kurla. At the workshop, a bunker has been created this year to recreate an image of the situation in Jammu. It will serve as the selfie point for the entire festival. At the workshop on Monday, about seven Navy officers paid visits and drew a huge rangoli near the idol.

Isher will reach Jammu by Tuesday evening, and Poonch on Wednesday evening by a truck. She is hoping the message of unity through her idol will cause the administration to allow her and the idol inside her village. More so, she waits to see her family members.

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