If you have not seen Mumbai’s famous ‘Lal Baug ka Raja’ you can check out its lookalike in Ahmedabad. ‘Lal Baug Ka Raja, Ahmedabad Ka Maharaja’ was installed by the Krishna Mitra Mandal at Naranpura on Wednesday morning. The idol is nine feet tall and made of a mixture of clay and plaster of Paris (PoP).
The idol was gifted to the mandal by Sanjay Dabade and Santosh Kumar from Mumbai. This is the second year that the mandal has brought the lookalike of ‘Lal Baug Ka Raja’ to the city.
Speaking about the fresh elements this year, chairman of the trust Dharmesh Mehta said, “This year, we have introduced special facilities for children of Andhajan mandal and senior citizens of the Naranpura old age home. We have arranged a free pick-up and drop facility for their darshan.”
He also said that a series of cultural activities has been planned for 10 days of the Ganesha festival. “We have arranged for Gujarati folk dance and retro dance competition, Daayro, Gujarati ghazal program, hi-tech laser show and bhajan sandhya for 10 days.”
‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ is a popular ganesh idol in Mumbai. Lakhs of devotees throng the mandal to get a darshan of the beautifully decorated Ganesha idol. It is believed that the lord is a fulfiller of wishes, and lakhs of devotees wait for days in queues to touch the feet of the Elephant God.
Around 50 lakh devotees throng for the darshan of ‘Lalbaugcha Raja’ every year.
While piety-gripped Amdavadischant Ganpati Bappa Morya on Wednesday, idols making space in city homes is also expected to reach mammoth proportions today.Guesstimates peg a total of more than 1,50,000 statues of the Lord that are likely to grace Amdavadis’homes from Wednesday.
Looking at the sales figures ofGulbai Tekra alone, it seems likely that city worshippers of the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune, have also bought their deity’s idols from other cities too.
On Tuesday, idol makers of Gulbai Tekra, considered hub of idol-making in the city, was seen making brisk business. ‘Hollywood’ as it is popularly called, saw massive footfalls on Tuesday with devotees indulging in the last minute purchase of idols in the narrow lanes.
Despite facing low demand compared to last year, each idol maker, on an average was able to sell around 50-100 idols. “I had made 150 idols of plaster of paris (PoP) and have managed to sell around 70% of them till now. I am hoping that my finish my stock looking at the crowd,” saidArjunbhai, an idol maker at Gulbai Tekra.
Gulbai Tekra alone has around 1,200 idol makers and is the single largest supplier of Ganesha idols to the city as well other parts of the state. According to a rough estimate, around 90% of the total idols of the city are supplied by Gulbai Tekra. Every idol maker at Gulbai Tekra made around 50-100 idols, out of which, 60% were sold before Tuesday.
Another idol maker, Govindbhai said that he had made around 50 idols and had already sold 25 of them.
Gulbai Tekra was not the only place selling Ganesha idols as Sabarmatijail inmates also did good business. Most of their idols had been sold by Tuesday. Talking about the idols sold, Sabarmati jail superintendent, RJParghi said, “Ten prisoners had made 250 idols of clay ranging from 2 to 8 feet. We did a good business this year as around 200 idols have already been sold.”
Some ardent followers have not kept their horizon limited to city alone as they have gone on idol hunting spree to as far as Mumbai and many other places. Cities like Vadodara, Mumbai and others have also received orders from the Amdavadis for their favourite lord. One such mandal in Maninagararea has placed order for a huge idol from Mumbai. “We have ordered huge idol from Mumbai measuring 11-feet to give it an entirely different look,” saidParag Naik, member of Shree Shivshakti Yuvak mandal.
Ahmedabad: Thousands of Sthanakwasi Jain devotees thronged Upashrayas on Thursday for performing pratikraman rituals on the occasion of Samvatsari. Another sect, Derawasi Jains, will perform the ritual on Friday and end their fast on Saturday morning.
Vishok Jain, a volunteer of Shalibhadra Jain group, was among the devotees who performed pratikraman on Thursday. He said, “Around 1300 devotees attended the pratikraman and actively participated in it. In the evening, we asked each other for forgiveness by saying ‘Micchami Dukkaddam.”
After Samvatsari, devotees will break their fast in Upashrays by consuming sweet water on Friday morning. This ritual will be followed by celebrations in Jain houses.
However, Derawasi Jains will observe Samvatsari on Friday. Speaking on the importance of Samvatsari for Sthanakvasi Jains, president of Kutchi Jain Sewa Samaj, Ashok Mehta, said, “Those who could not fast for eight days, observed fast for a single day on Samvatsari. We consider the day very auspicious. Nowadays Sthanakwasi Jains opt for single day of fasting and end their fast after Samvatsari.”
Do rituals performed by Derawasi Jains on Samvatsari differ from Sthanakwasi Jains? Mehta said, “Apart from minor differences, there is hardly any difference in pratikraman and the morning ritual. Tomorrow, Jain devotees will gather at Upashrays, perform pratikraman and say ‘Micchammi Dukkaddam’.
The state government has banned use of plaster of Paris (PoP) to make idols of deities and immersion of such idols in public water bodies due to the pollution it causes, which is a hazard to marine life.
Although clay idols costs nearly three times more than idols made of PoP, a dozen individuals and organisations have placed orders with idol maker Manglesh in Amraiwadi area.
Shri Shakti Yuvak Mandal, a group of ten people organising Ganeshotsav in Maninagar for four years, have been using eco-friendly idols for three years. “When we came to know about the environmental hazards of PoP, we started ordering eco-friendly idols,” said Mitesh Thakkar, one of the volunteers of the group.
He said while they used to get PoP idols for around Rs3,000, they pay Rs9,000 for eco-friendly idols.”We have been organising Ganeshotsav for 31 years. Earlier, we used to buy Ganesh idols made of PoP, but for last eight years we have opted for clay idols,” said Summit Yadav of Rajasthan Mitra Mandal of Choksi ni Chali in Rakhial.
Yadav and his friends switched to clay idols as Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation fishes out the idols from Kankaria lake and dumps them as garbage. “The idol that we worship as the Lord for 10 days is treated like garbage. This is an insult to the deity and our feelings. So we decided to go for eco-friendly idols that melt in the water completely,” explained Yadav.
In another case, elders guided the young generation to use only clay idols of Lord Ganesh. People of Patel Parmanand ni Chali in Rakhial area have been celebrating Ganeshotsav for 52 years and have used eco-friendly idols on all occasions except for a couple of years.
“Our ancestors used to bring clay idols of Lord Ganesh from Mumbai as nobody was making clay idols in Ahmedabad. However, once we bought a PoP idol which displeased the elders as their religious sentiments were hurt,” said Sunny Shrivastava of Patel Parmanand ni Chali.
Sachin Dravekar, TNN
Nagpur: Though the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) on June 30 passed the ban on the idols made with plaster of paris (PoP) from this year’s Ganesh festival in its general body meeting, the civic body doesn’t seem to be in a mood to implement it.
A senior BJP leader requesting anonymity informed that though the house has approved the policy decision and sent it to municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal to implement it, party senior leaders are not in favour to implement the ban from this festival season. “Mayor Archana Dehankar soon may ask civic chief to implement the same after festival from November 1,” he said.
Sources at NMC informed that now it has become a routine for BJP-ruled NMC. Every year they promise to ban idols made from PoP to promote an environment-friendly festival. However, due to pressure from traders (mostly BJP activists) and people just before the festival season they revert on their decision.
This year too, senior party leaders realized that the decision could hurt the sentiments of lakhs of devotees and may take their traditional voters away from them. So, next year being election year, BJP do not want to take any chances and hurt sentiments of its voters and has dropped its plans and reiterated intention to enforce the ban with complete dedication from next year, sources added.
Nag-Vidarbha Murtikar and Vikreta Sangh leader Ankush Yelne who recently met Archana Dehankar along with 500 artisans told TOI, “Almost 2 lakh families in city worship Lord Ganesha and huge is the requirement of idols in city. Almost 30,000 Ganesh idols have already arrived. Around 10,000 people are dependent on the business. So banning PoP idols this year will be ill-timed, as such idols have already been manufactured and arrived in the market”.
Mayor Archana Dehankar said, “I know that PoP idols are polluting lakes and rivers in our city and should be banned completely. I have already sent the house decision to civic head to decide about its implementation. However, considering religious sentiments of people, I personally feel to enforce it from next year”.
Recently, environmentalists had thanked civic body and especially mayor Archana Dehankar when they unanimously approved an environment-friendly decision and ban Ganesh idols made of PoP in the city from this year.