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Kurla papier-mache idol maker gets order from the US, Holland.

1875579Sandeep Gajakosh has already dispatched a 6-ft Ganesha idol, along with 20 smaller ones, to the US. And that’s not all. He has received an order for 50 more such Ganesha idols from the Hindu Community of North Texas.

The order came after members of the Hindu community in North Texas discovered this Kurla resident’s papier mache Ganesha. These eco-friendly idols came as huge relief for the Hindu Community over there as people used to abandon their idols at the temple.

Last year, the community presented Sandeep a trophy as a token of respect. They have ordered 50 more bare idols this year to be painted by children as part of a culture lesson, along with the 6 ft idol for the temple.

Sandeep’s eco-conscious mind started researching means to make this festival least intrusive to nature about three years ago. He started off with 50 paper mache idols in the first year. This year he has more than 500 paper idols booked and the number is likely to go up as the festival draws closer.

“These idols are very light, a 1 foot idol would weigh just 2 kgs as compared to a 20 kgs POP idol, making them easy to transport. We have also received some orders from Holland,” said Sandeep, adding that his idols are made up of recycled papier mache and painted with non-toxic water colours.

Sandeep, who works in the BMC, is also empowering the women of his locality by training them in idol making.

“Even the shaadu matti idols are made from packaged clay and painted with synthetic colours, these still pollute our water bodies. These idols are eco-friendly in the truest sense,” says Deputy Director of the Maharashtra Nature Park. The idols will be on display at the Maharashtra Nature Park in Mahim from next week so that nature lovers can check them out and place orders.

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