The Gods love a splash of colours going by a unique tradition which has been prevalent in Bhankur village in Shahabad taluk for decades. People offering sweets, coconuts, clothes, cash and jewellery to the gods once their wishes have been fulfilled, is quite common. But what getting the idol painted in a new colour to fulfill a vow ? That’s something which is sure to make many sit up in their seats.

At Bhankur, devotees do exactly this, painting the idol of lord Ganesha in new colours once their vows are fulfilled. Result: the 10-feet high “Dodda Ganesha” gets a change of colour eight to ten times in a month. This practice has been in vogue for the last thirty five years or so, though the idol itself is more than a hundred years old. “Earlier, Dodda Ganesha used to get a new coat of paint once in three-four months. But with so many devotees now visiting the place, there is a new colour once in 4-5 days”, says 40-year-old Veeranna, a social worker from the village.

Situated atop a hillock with huge granite boulders, the legend has it that the idol is that of Udbhava-Ganesha (natural and not man-made). Villagers aver that the idol grows by an inch or two every year. There is also a belief that to arrest the idol’s growth, someone once hit it with a hammer thus stopping the growth. There is no temple or priest around with the devotees performing pooja on their own. When their vows are fulfilled, they get boxes of paint and hire the services of nearby painters to get it painted. Though the place has been drawing large crowds, no steps have been taken to develop infrastructure.