Lalbaughcha Raja, Lalbaughcha Raja auction 2023,

This year’s Lalbagcha Raja auction nets an impressive Rs.8.07 crore

Mumbai, 03 Oct: Lalbaghcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal made a good haul this year in terms of the donation of gold, silver, and cash from his devotees. The donation raised ₹8.07 crore, perhaps not as much as  2011 (₹11 crore) but more than last year by almost 25 percent! 

Member of the Mandal and various media representatives examining the various items before the auction.

The auction was held last Sunday evening in the same hall where the idol was placed for ten days, awaiting his devotees. Nor did they disappoint.  A treasure trove of 110 gold and silver items, weighing respectively 3.50 kg and 64 kg, was offered at the feet of the Lalbaugcha Raja and came up for auction.

The excitement as the crowd eagerly participated in the auction nearing, could be seen.

It was a lively crowd of more than a hundred of people who attended, eagerly awaiting the event. The excitement could be felt, and whether one was an actual bidder or not, it did not matter. All watched with rapt attention.

 Actually, only 15 people were bidding, seated respectfully in the front row. But there was plenty of buzz in the hall as the auction began at around 5 pm. All eyes were on the dazzling display of ornaments and artifacts made out of precious metals.

The bidding was lively and competitive and the auctioneer was a man who knew his job, keeping the bids coming with ease.

The first bidder was Mehul Goshal, a gentleman in his 50s, who managed to get a silver Ganesh murti for Rs. 22,000. He has been coming for darshan to Lalbagcha Raja for the last 20 years and for this, “Lalbaugh cha raja madhya majhi lai aastha ah” (This is bappa prasad for me).

It was a particularly memorable event for Dhir Sawant, one of the bidders who has participated in the auction for the last 5 years without bagging anything. He succeeded this year and took home a 5gm gold modak. “This year we got bappacha aashirwaad”  he said happily.

It was all about gold and silver last Sunday evening.

Some of the other highlights of Lalbaughcha Raja auction 2023 was a 100-gram gold biscuit which fetched ₹6.25 lakh, the highest price for any item auctioned on Sunday evening, a gold necklace weighing 50 grams fetched ₹3.5 lakh, a gold bracelet weighing 20 grams was knocked down for ₹1.25 lakh, and a silver coin weighing 10 grams fetched ₹5,000. The bidding was competitive and many items were sold in a couple of hours. By 8.30 pm, however, the major items had still not gone. In fact, at the end of the evening, there were still gold necklaces, including one valued at Rs. 55 lakh.

Two unexpected items. (Left side)  ₹65,000 cricket bat and (right side) the electric scooter which bought in ₹1.65 Lakh

Easily one of the highlights of the auction was an Indie Electric Scooter which was sold at ₹1.65 lakh.  It retails at Rs. 1.25 lakh. And a Kashmiri willow cricket bat was donated it by Omkar Phansalkar of the Vikhroli-based Omkar Boyce Sports. It retails at Rs. 4,500 and it fetched Rs. 65,000 at the auction!

The social activities run by the Mandal are legendary and range from dialysis centers to financial assistance for the needy in fields like health, medicine, and education. There are centers offering coaching as well, for budding civil service aspirants. All of these need funding to run.

“The donations from the auction will be used as usual to continue our activities in our various social and charitable activities, such as running medical camps, educational institutions, and providing relief to the needy,” said Secretary of the Mandal, Sudhir Sitaram Salvi.

And what about the necklaces that have not yet been sold? Says Salvi, “Those we will keep and auction off next year.”

Written by PG in Journalism students, Vaishnavi Rasanbhaire and Mariyam Shaikh

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