Idols Going Eco-Friendly! Ganesh Chaturthi Adding Natural Green Cover

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Idols Going Eco-Friendly! Ganesh Chaturthi Adding Natural Green Cover

Mangaluru: Going Green this Ganesh Chaturthi! Ganesh Idols with Sapling encased within is the new initiative implemented by National Environment Care Foundation (NECF) last year, is still going strong in 2018 too, where many are opting for such idols, with the love for nature and environment. NECF had aimed at Ganesh Chaturthi that adds to natural green cover, with this initiative. This Ganesh Chaturthi festivities could mark what NECF feels is a small step to increase the green cover in this coastal city. The initiative entails procuring a made-to-order clay idol of Lord Ganesha, with a sapling of devotee’s choice encased within. NECF has also come forward to supply the saplings that devotees want if they are not able to source one of their choices on the first-come-first-serve basis.

Brainchild of NECF member Suresh S Shetty speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “The idea of preserving sanctity of the idol worshiped with devotion, post immersion was borne out of a media campaign of how these idols posed an environmental hazard when disposed unscientifically. We wanted to add green touch to the endeavour and decided to enclose the idol with a sapling of a tree species endemic to the area so that a new life form could grow from within the idol post immersion”.

Shashidhar Shetty, secretary of NECF said, “To ensure that the immersion of idol is in sync with prescribed traditions, the federation has suggested that a pit of the size of the idol be dug and filled with water and idol immersed therein. Clay will dissolve in water and allow the sapling inside to grow. People will also take extra care to ensure that such sapling is cared for well given its religious connotation of a tree having grown from within an idol”.

This year all those who were interested in this endeavour had given a sapling of their choice to NECF office bearers who in turn got the made-to-order idol readied for them. Given that the festival is tomorrow, Shashidhar urged people to expedite their order. By this morning all the Eco-friendly Ganesh idols were sold out, and all the orders were picked up by the customers- these Eco-friendly idols will definitely give devotees a chance to look forward to the next Chaturthi festivities even as this sapling grows. Next year devotees can call- Idol maker Vinayak at 9448144877 located on Car Street, Mangaluru or Suresh N Shetty at 9742879881

Ganesha Moortis Galore at Ravi Arts-Car Street owned by Ravi Bhandary:

On the other hand, the regular and traditional Ganesh Idols were getting the final touches before the big feast. Ganesha Moorthi makers located on Car-Street and few other locations in the Coastal City are all set to create some unique idols of Lord Ganesha. It’s natural to wonder about how they’re made and the amount of work that’s gone into creating them. If you’re interested in finding out, it’s possible to see the statues being crafted-Where and how depends on how much time you have available, and one place in town you can witness the carving talents of these statues is at Ravi Bhandary’s business, located on Car Street Cross Road, Mangaluru.

Idol making is big business. The skill is handed down from generation to generation, plus many experienced artists come down to Mangaluru during this time of the festival to help in the labor-intensive process. It gets underway around a few months before the festival takes place. Ganesh idol making industry in City is huge, especially at this time of the year. But, just how huge is huge? The figures are impressive. From hundreds to thousands of idols are made here. People from neighbouring towns, and from places as far as Hassan, Sakleshpur, Shimoga, Madikeri, and even from Kerala buy Ganesh idols from Ravi Bhandary.

The statues of Lord Ganesha are carved in more than 300 different forms and poses. They consider it a holy mission which brings them closer to the Lord. While most of the idols are done solely by Ravi, but during occasions like these he takes help from 3-4 artisans to overcome the demand of statues for Ganesh Chaturthi. They are happy with the response they are getting in the city. These artisans are here to showcase their skills. An idol depicting Ganesh with Sri Radhakrishna with peacocks on either side and another one showing him savouring ghee with Lord Krishna are couples of the major attractions this time. Idols sitting on lotus, cow and snake are also added to the variety of idols available during this festival season.

There are references in the Puranas that Ganapati was created from grime. Hence, the artisans find it appropriate to use a Ganesh idol made of mud for ritualistic worship. It is worth mentioning here that as per the Hindu mythology, the spiritual Idols should be a seated one, not standing. Bhandary informed me of the reason why the Idols were made only in sitting position.

If a guest pays a visit to our home, we offer him a seat and not keep him standing. During Ganesh Chaturthi, we invoke Lord Ganapati, that is invite Him. One should offer Him a seat and proper hospitality. Hence for this spiritual emotion, all the statues of Ganesha are made in sitting position, said Ravi. He informed that scientifically the reason for sitting statues is due to the entire weight of the idol resting on the feet. The idol may break if it is kept in the standing position for ten consecutive days.

Making idols is a holy mission for the artisans. “Every idol-maker should be pure and spiritually inclined. He must keep one thing in mind that it is not he who is making the idol, rather it is the Lord, who is getting it done through him,” said the senior artisan. “A sculptor should have a faith that making idols is not a vocation but a holy mission. When an idol is made with faith, amidst chanting of the Lord’s name and observance of all the restrictions, it becomes more pious” Ravi added.

A large number of clients were at Ravi’s place this morning to pick up their Ganesh idols pre-ordered or buy them on spot-Hundreds of magnificent Ganesha idols in different sizes and themes were stocked inside the shop, and some were wrapped in transparent plastic sheets. While Ravi Bhandary who could spend only a few seconds since he was busy giving final touches to the idols, his wife was kind enough to give more information on their idol-making business.

Their business was started by Govinda Bhandary 94 years ago, which is now run by his son Ravi Bhandary. About 80% of the idols they make are from clay, and the remaining 30% are made from Plaster of Paris, which comes ready-made from other states. The prices are bit expensive since clay is not easily available, and also it takes pretty good hours to create a clay idol. It takes an hour and a half for the artists to put in place the initial structure and then 48 hours for it to completely dry off. Then they have to be given final touches and painted, in some cases. “To make a fully completed 3-4 feet Ganesh idol takes over a week”, said Ravi’s wife.

The prices for clay idols start from Rs 100…..Rs 1000, and the largest idol will cost around Rs 7000 to 8000. Bhandary said, ” Many of my customers are like my well-wishers, who offer me pretty good money for the idols without me even quoting them a price. Our customers are happy with our work and quality, and they keep coming back year after. Satisfying our customers is our motto, and creating quality products is our business. Most of the time we don’t fix prices for the big Ganesh idols, our regular clients fix the price”.

Business is brisk for the big idols despite rising costs of inputs. Although the most wanted idols are the life-sized ones made of Plaster of Paris, but many people prefer the eco-friendly clay idols, since they easily dissolve in water which is good for the environment. So if you are looking for a clay idol of Ganesha or an idol made of Plaster of Paris, head on to Ravi Arts, where your search for your favourite “Ganesha” will be over. On behalf of Team Mangalorean, wish all our Hindu friends a Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!.

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