The 10-day-long Ganeshotsav or Ganesh festival is the best time of the year to be in Mumbai and experience the zest and fervour of the Mumbaikars. This festival is a reflection of the unity and energy this city has. People of all faiths come together to celebrate the birthday of their favourite lord. And while you do Pandal-hopping during these 10 days, you can’t miss these 5 mandals.
1. Lalbaugcha Raja
Lalbaughcha Raja is the oldest known Pandal in Mumbai. The idol is a visual spectacle with all its grandeur. Every year, the mandal comes up with different themes. And it attracts the maximum crowd. This is the 81st year of Lalbaugcha Raja.
2. Girgaoncha Raja
Located in Girgaon, Girgaoncha Raja is the tallest among all the idols of Lord Ganesha in the city. It is the only eco-friendly Ganpati. Unlike the other idols, which are made of Plaster of Paris, Girgaoncha Raja is made with Shadu clay, which is especially imported from West Bengal. This is the same clay which is used in making idols of goddess Durga.
3. Andhericha Raja
Andhericha Raja is famous for his spectacular themes which bemuses the devotees of Lord Ganesh every year. Over the years, they have replicated temples themes like the Akshardham, Somnath, Mangueshi, Saras Baug and many more. It would be interesting so see what they come up with this year.
4. GSB Seva Mandal
Located in Wadala, the idol is made to sit on a 22 carat gold-plated throne and embellished with precious jewels. This is the riches idol in the city and its opulence leaves you in awe.
5. Khetwadicha Raja
It holds the record of making the tallest Ganesh idol in Maharashtra. With each passing year, the makers increase the height of the idol.
From a selfie-taking Ganesha to a Baahubali Ganpati: Here’s why this Ganesh Chaturthi will be interesting
The lord of the new beginnings will soon arrive with much grandeur and fanfare and this time he will don every possible contemporary theme. As the country prepares to get into the mood to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, the streets are abuzz with the different types of idols that you might see this season.
From Mumbai’s iconic Lalbaugcha Raja statue to the tallest-ever Ganesh statue being made in Vijayawada, the frenzy in the country over the festival is making sure that there are Ganesh idols and statues of all kinds. In the past, we have already seen World Cup Ganesha, Anna Hazare Ganesha and even the travel Ganesha. But when we say all kinds, we include those which you have never imagined before.
Here are some of the most unique Ganesh idols which will make this Ganesh Chaturthi innovative:
If there is one picture to explain the meaning of the word ‘frenzy’, it is this picture. You know that the country’s obsession with selfies has gone a tad bit too far when you find people making idols of Lord Ganesh taking a selfie of him with his family members. Don’t be surprised tomorrow if you suddenly come across a Ganesh statue in which the God is making a duck-face.
SS Rajamouli’s blockbuster multi-lingual film Baahubali reportedly collected Rs 500 crore in the three weeks since its release on 10 July, according to sources in the film unit. However, that is just a number. Perhaps the real proof of the massive success of Baahubali actually is this picture, which shows a statue of Lord Ganesh as the Baahubali. Films have always been an important part of India. But nothing proves it as much as this image.
Size does matter. The Dundee Ganesha Seva Samiti (DGSS) might be aiming to make the tallest Ganesh statue ever. However, as challenging as it would be to create a statue that massive, it would be equally challenging to make a Ganesh idol out of the lead tip of a pencil. Yet, this miniature idol of Lord Ganesh shows that good things can indeed also come in small packages.
Many people are concerned about the adverse effects to the environment caused during immersion of the Ganesh idols.
And those people are not afraid to create their own unique statues to get attention for their cause. For example, Digambar Manikar and his son Rajesh have made a 22-foot Ganesh idol weighing 150 kg using nothing but 30,000 tissue papers to show the importance of eco-friendly idols, according to Hindustan Times.
We certainly hope these idols become more popular and raise awareness about the environment among people.
Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues
Goa: Hindus in Goa are getting ready to celebrate the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in the coming week. It is not only the days of the festival that are important, but the month long preparations for the household are important as well, especially for the women who have to perform different rituals.
Many people observe fasts and abstinence with religious dedication during the month of Shravan, which is considered the most religious month of the Hindu calendar. Some only consume ‘shivrak’ (vegetarian) food for the entire month and break the abstinence after Chaturti. Many traditions are observed especially by married women, who are known as ‘savashini’. Shravan is followed by the month of Bhadrapad in which Ganesh Chaturti is celebrated.
There are many religious ceremonies observed during Bhadrapad. Each day of the week is dedicated for a deity. On Monday, it is the day Lord Mahadev is revered. On these days, women after the morning bath perform a pooja to Lord Mahadev and the nevaidya offered is a chapatti mixed with jaggery. After cooking the chapatti, it is shredded into small pieces and mixed with jaggery and offered.
Tuesday is devoted to Ganapati and after the pooja the nevaidya offered is Ganapati’s favourite – the modak, with a filling of coconut and sugar mixture. Thursday is Lord Vishnu’s day. For some years now, the devotion to Sai Baba of Sirdi has gained momentum in Goa, with a number of temples built in his honour and many people revere Sai Baba on this day.
Friday is dedicated to Laxmi, with a pooja performed for her, followed by the distribution of grams. Some women venerate Laxmi with a divli pooja. They adorn the divli with flowers and light. Women also visit each other’s houses and put kukum on their forehead.
Saturday is for Maruti and nevaidya of sunt (dry ginger) mixed with sugar is offered. When the women visit the temple of Maruti, they bathe the idol with oil and sindur is applied.
Sunday is dedicated to the sun who gives us energy and life. Sundays are reserved for special poojas performed by women, like poojas for the wellbeing of their husbands. On each Sunday of the Bhadrapad month, a special sweet dish is prepared. On the first Sunday ‘mutli’ is prepared. The paste of ground soaked rice is moulded into balls in which a mixture of coconut and jaggery is filled. And these are boiled in water. Sonali Alornekar from Ecoxim, Bardez tells us that mutlis are synonymous with keeping a fast, as the saying in Konkani goes: mutlin dovorlo, upas dovorlo.
On the second Sunday, patolyos are prepared. The next Sunday is a day for khichdi that is prepared by boiling together rice and mung and adding coconut and jaggery. And on the fourth Sunday ‘pole’ is prepared from soaked rice and urad dal ground together with coconut and sweetened with jaggery and fried. In case there is a fifth Sunday, then ‘tavsali’ or any other sweet is prepared on the fourth Sunday, and pole on the fifth Sunday. Tavsali is made with overripe grated cucumber, cooked with ground coconut, jaggery and coarsely pounded rice till done. The mixture should be without liquid. It is put in a container and baked in the oven or with live coals.
The festival is related to the environment and therefore various plants, leaves and fruits available during the monsoon are used in the pooja. Sandhya Verlekar from Curca tells us how she performs her Sunday pooja. After having the mandatory bath, she prepares her pooja by decorating aalu (colocasia) leaf on the path (wooden seat). On this leaf she draws an image of sun to the left and the moon to the right either with rangoli paste or lime (chuno) paste. Then she spreads rice on the leaf and decorates it further with different leaves and flowers. A tambiyo (copper tumbler) with water (covered with beetle leaf and arecanut) is placed on this leaf of aalu. On either side of the leaf, two cones made out of leaves are kept. Every Sunday different kind of leaves are used to make the cones. The following sequence is followed from the first Sunday: leaves of turmeric, banana, parijata (coral jasmine) and peepal. All this represents biodiversity and in turn worship of nature.
In the evening, she takes the decorated path out, near the tulsi vrundavan and buries some of the items under the tulsi plants and she throws the remaining on the roof and seeks blessing of the Sun.
According to Sudha Karmalkar from Carambolim, the manner in which the poojas are performed depends on the community to which they belong. She also adds that many women have now simplified the rituals as they live in nuclear families. When joint families were the tradition there was more rigidity in the observations of the rituals.
With Ganeshotsav round the corner, Mumbaiites are set to unveil their eco-friendly Ganesh idols across Mumbai.
The father-son duo has been making eco-friendly idols since 2008. This year, they have trained children between 12 and 18 years from Vile Parlecha Peshwa Bal Gopal Mitra Mandal to create eight idols made using tissue paper – ranging from 6ft to 22ft high – to be unveiled on September 17 at Vile Parle, Jogeshwari, Shastri Nagar, Andheri and Santacruz.
“We put together a 22-foot layout of bamboo sticks stuck together using natural gum. We then mixed a large mould of tissue papers and newspapers to be placed on the bamboo sticks with a little water. Within three months, the idol’s impression was ready,” said Rajesh Manikar.
“The idol takes about five minutes to dissolve in water. The bamboo sticks will be taken out after the immersion at Juhu,” said one of the mandal’s members.
Among the other eco-friendly idols is a 25-foot Ganesh idol made of fibre, which will be made at the Kranti Sarvajanik Mandal shed and installed at Kol Dongri, Andheri (East). “Next year, the same idol will be modified using different colours, designs and shapes. The idea is to reduce the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP), protect the environment and use our resources to the maximum,” said Abhishek Vyas, treasurer of the mandal.
A fibre idol is a one-time investment and costs around Rs 5 lakh, while making clay idols, which is an every year affair, costs at least Rs 2 lakh.
Andheri siblings Rohit Vaste, 35, Sushil, 34, and Pranay, 30, have chosen to drfit away from the clay and PoP idols’ concept and adopt a novel idea — making idols using papier mache, which is a mixture of paper and glue, or paper and flour with water that hardens on getting dry. The Vaste siblings have for the first time made more than 100 idols from papier mache.
“Papier mache idols dissolve in flowing water within one-and-a-half-hour and in still water within three hours. Clay idols take more time and harm the aquatic environment,” said Rohit Vaste, adding these idols weigh only one-and-a-half kg and cost Rs 5,500.”
New generation of Kulalar families has taken up other professions
The Vinayaka Chathurthi festival falling on September 17 provides an occasion for a family reunion among the members of the ‘Kulalar’ families who are traditionally in the business of making pots, Vinayaka idols for the festival and other idols for the Navarathri festival.
For several generations, the ‘Kulalars’ (the potters’ community) have been engaged in the profession which was their sole bread-winner. But in the last two decades, there has been a decline in the number of persons engaged in the business owing to the aging of the elders and their inability to do the job, and the disinterest among the next generation in continuing the profession. Many of the children of the traditional potters have got educated as teachers, engineers, doctors and IT professionals and have taken up jobs in other parts of the state and other states in India. Many have also gone abroad. Come Vinayaka Chathurthi, the members of the families would visit their native homes and assist the elders in giving finishing touches to the Vinayaka idols.
Senthilkumar, son of Mohan (55), a potter in Choolaimedu who is now studying 10th standard, was seen stamping on wet clay to prepare it for moulding Vinayaka idols in front of his house. Mohan’s another son Thulasiraman (24) is a B.Com. graduate and is looking for better pastures.
“My sons help me only on the eve of Vinayaka Chathurthi. The business is losing its sheen because of the declining interest among the younger generation in doing the job”, he said.
A. Dinakaran, who works for a religious organization, was making idols alone in his house in Kosapet as his mother who used to help him has gone to Dubai to be with her second son. His son, studying in an engineering college in Coimbatore, is not interested in taking up the profession, he said. He would come on the morning of September 17 and help him in giving finishing touches to the idols and selling them, he added.
“My uncle R. Chinnadurai, who is a retired headmaster residing in Ranipet, has promised to come on Wednesday night to help me. But my cousin who is a government doctor in Chennai, who used to come here in advance till two years ago is not coming now because of his professional preoccupation,” he said. A problem which the potters encountered this year was the intense heat which causes cracks in the idols, necessitating touch-up. Besides, the price of mud which the potters used to get from irrigation tanks has shot up from Rs.3,000 per lorry load to Rs.4,500.
A salient feature of the business is that the potters have taken to electric wheels to mould the three parts of the Vinayaka idol—the base, the body and the head.
The versatility of the much adored elephant god is evident from different models of the idols of the Lord displayed at Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar) showroom in the city.
Apart from serious models such as “Narthana Ganapathy”, “Raja Ganapathy”, and “Valampuri Vinayakar”, the showroom has displayed new models such as “Cricket Ganapathy”, and “Oonjal Ganapathy”.
“We have brought the idols from Tiruvanaikovil, Thanjavur, and Puducherry,” says R. Gangadevi, manager of Poompuhar. There has been a scramble for the Valampuri Vinayakar idols and hence a large number of this model made of different material — stones, brass, and sandalwood, panchaloha, brass and alloy metal, has been stocked. The “Cricket Vinayagar” is a set of Lord Ganapathy in seven forms. It is priced at Rs. 2,500.
The exhibition which is on will be open from 10 a.m. till September 19.
A special rebate of 10 per cent would be available for purchases made during the special exhibition.
Rajahmundry: Two tall idols of Hindu God – Lord Ganesha – 80 and 63 feet respectively will be installed at Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada in Andra Pradesh as the state gears up to celebrate the festival of the elephant god beginning September 17.
An 80-feet Ganesha idol will be installed at Gajuwaka in Visakahpatnam district- jointly by a Vizag-based group and Non-Resident Indians (NRI) of Visakhapatnam.
“For the first time this year we will install 80-feet idol of Lord Ganesha in the city,” Visakha Integrated Social Welfare Association (VISWA) member Palla Ramana told PTI from USA.
“We have not collected any donations from anyone. Only voluntary donations are accepted. We are also helping Dundy Ganesh Samithi, Vijayawada to install a 63-feet Ganesh idol.
“CCTV cameras will be installed at various points. A vigil will be kept by police on movement of devotees,” he said.
Another 63-feet tall Ganesha idol will be installed in Vijayawada by Dundy Ganesh Samithi, said Samithi chairman and industrialist K Satyanarayana.
“A laddu weighing 6,300 kg will be offered to Lord Ganesha. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will offer prayers on the first day of the festival,” Satyanarayana said.
Meanwhile, security has been stepped up in view of the upcoming festival at both these places.
Other cities and towns in the state are also gearing up to celebrate the 10-day-long festival in a grand manner.
“I was just ten years old when I started drawing the eyes of small Ganesha idols. It’s been 25 years now. I learnt the art from my father P Shanmugam,” says Saravanakumar adding, “I put my heart and soul in idol-making. The entire family comes together for this process and it’s a celebration of sorts. It was only natural that I followed my father’s footsteps.”
Once the idols are ready, they are covered with a polythene sheets. The idols are shipped to Tiruppur, Mettupalayam, Nilgiris, Pollachi, Udumalpet, and Kerala. “We usually start the process of making moulds for the new designs in January. We then make the papier-mache designs for the bigger idols in February. Papier-mache is lightweight and hence it is used in the bigger idols, so that it can be transported easily. The smaller ones are made out of clay. While the clay is sourced from Perur Chettipalayam, lime powder is brought in from Pollachi, tapioca powder and papier-mache is sourced from the city. As far as the colours are concerned, we purchase natural dyes from Mumbai. We do not bake them so that it can dissolve in the water easily,” says Saravanakumar.
Yoganantham says, “It is very challenging to decide on the new designs every year. The only demand that customers have is that the idol should be different from the previous years. This year, there’s a huge demand for Veera Sivaji Vinayagar and Mangala Vinayagar.” A Sumathi, another idol-maker says, “This year’s specialty is Kalinganarthana Vinayagar, Nataraja Thandava Vinayagar, Jhansi Rani Vinayagar and Vinayagar on a swan. After the success of the film Baahubali, we have got plenty of orders for Baahubali Vinayagar, which we will be making next year. There is a demand for Riddhi Siddhi Vinayagar, too.”
M Amudhavalli, who specialises in making smaller idols, has roped in many school dropouts from her locality to help her. “Most of the workers who help me during the season are unemployed youngsters. These boys have been a great pillar of support. I sell the idols at a wholesale rate, and then they are sold to respective customers. While a half-foot idol costs around ` 70, a 13-feet idol costs up to `20,000.”
While Coimbatoreans have been experimenting with their idols, Tiruppur idol maker R Senthil Sabathy, who has been making Ganesha idols for the last 25 years, says that he sticks to the tradition. “We specialise in Valampuri and Idampuri Vinayagar. The demand is always high for Idampuri Vinayagar, as the Valampuri Vinayagar is worshipped only by a certain community. My idols range from three feet to six feet. Our idols are delivered to Salem, Dharmapuri and Hosur. Unlike the idol makers in Coimbatore, we don’t make kolu idols.”
Interestingly, though these workers make the idols for others, they do not celebrate Vinayagar Chathurthi. “We ensure that the idols are delivered without any damage. The entire family pitches in to help ensure a smooth flow of work during the festival time. On the day of the festival, we are so exhausted that all we want to do is sleep,” says Yoganantham.
“There is a feeling of emptiness for a week after the idols are delivered. After some time, we start working on the designs for next year,” concludes Saravanakumar.
Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated in honour of the Lord Ganesha. During this festival, people install clay images of Ganesha in public pandals as well as their homes and worship the same for five to ten days. These idols of Ganesh differ in shapes, which are basically inspired by current developments.
This year Ganesh Chaturthi falls on 17 September and the preparation of Ganesh idols is now in full swing. Like every year, the artistes of the idols are busy making idols in different shapes, taking inspiration from several personalities and incidents that created buzz in the country this year.
Ganesh carrying Shiva Linga on his shoulder is one of the most popular idols of this season. The idol makers have hand crafted such Ganpati idols in different sizes from miniatures to larger ones. The general perception is that Lord Ganesha has a large stomach, but this season, Ganpati Bappa is more muscular and even flaunts six pack abs.
This shape of Ganesh is inspired from blockbuster movie “Baahubali – the Beginning”, in which Prabhas is seen carrying shiva Linga on his shoulder.
Earlier, the poster of “Baahubali – the Beginning” featuring Prabhas carrying Shiva Linga had created lot of buzz on social media. The photos showing Baahubali Ganesh is the latest trend, and social media platforms have been flooded with the images.
“Baahubali – the Beginning” has not only become a blockbuster success at the box office, but also a great source of inspiration for many actors, directors, producers and technicians around the country. Now, the Ganesh idol makers too seem to have joined the bandwagon.
The makers of the movie are all thrilled over “Baahubali”-styled Ganpati idols and Prabhas even plans to visit such idols. “After learning the news, Prabhas is very keen to visit one such idol during the festival and take blessings. He is extremely flattered with the way his character has connected with audiences across and the kind of impact it has had,” his spokesperson told IANS.