The hand-made Mysore-style Ganesha is said to have distinct features, including a unique curvature to the trunk. The idols are also said to fit the description of Ganesha in slokas. The idols in demand are made of clay and devoid of paint.
Two families from Mysore who have been in the trade since the Maharajas’ rule have been sending about 80 idols abroad every year.
The families of artists B Srinivas and Revanna, fourth generation idol makers, export the idols to places like Holland, the West Indies, the United States and New Zealand. Orders are taken three months before the festival.
Srinivas, who exports 60-70 idols, said the demand has increased in the last seven to eight years. “NRIs are more eco-conscious and prefer idols without paint. The demand is not just from Mysoreans settled abroad,” said Srinivas’s son Shyam Sundar.
The idols cost between Rs 30 and Rs 40,000 each, depending on the size.
The artists also abstain from non-vegetarian food, alcohol and cigarettes for six months before they begin making the idols.