The Ganesh Idol has been installed inside a single huge coconut embedded with 1111 coconuts supported by bamboos, coir and jute without using any artificial plastic or thermocol decoration. This adds a natural beauty to the Ganesh Idol which makes it very special and eco-friendly. In addition to inculcating this theme into the minds of young and upcoming children at Konkan Rail Vihar.
It has also organized various events and competitions such as bhajans, devotional songs, speech competitions, dance and open religious antakshari, making of Ganpati idol competition, open quiz on devotional theme, skit & religious fancy dress competition so that the children of Konkan Railway can grow into better citizens of tomorrow thereby taking forward the hierarchy of our rich and religious Indian Culture. This Eco-friendly decoration as well as various religious competitions will be a great feast to the eyes of the Navi Mumbaikars.
Amdavadis Meena and Sandeep Damre have created an eco-friendly Ganesha out of palm leaves with the help of their children Sravishta and Renesh. The couple has been making eco-friendly idols since 2000. “Ganpati festival is a good time for children to learn about climate change and global warming and the need to stop abusing the environment,” says Meena.
The couple has been making eco-friendly Ganesh using natural material like clay, leaves, flour, puffed rice, fruits and vegetables. Ganesha idols that are immersed in rivers and lakes are made mostly of Plaster of Paris (PoP) which does not dissolve in water, while the dyes and paints used on the idols release harmful substances like lead, mercury, arsenic and cadmium.
“According to our ancient traditions, only plain clay was used to make Ganesha idols. However, the facts that PoP costs less and is lighter had started a different trend,” Sandeep adds.
Lord’s message: Keep politics clean
The bright Ganesha with orange-red hues at Bhimjipura Crossroads in Nava Wadaj is an eye-catcher. This idol is made of buckets, tumblers, brushes and myriad other tools which are used to clean. In fact, this Ganpati also has a washing machine!
“This year the theme is cleanliness in general and in politics in particular,” said Tushar Tapodhan, a former make-up artist and one of the brains behind the idol. Interestingly, while this Ganesha made of plastic buckets and tumblers is not exactly eco-friendly, what helps it stake a claim is the fact that the organizers will not take this idol for immersion. “We never immerse our Ganesh idols but donate it to charity. Since these are pieces of art, they are lapped up by organizations and used as exhibits in institutes. Last year we had made Ganpati on the theme of Swarnim Gujarat which was donated to the Gujarat Cancer Hospital,” said Tapodhan.
According to the statistics shared by Ganpati idol dealers in the city, the demand for idols, especially eco-friendly ones, from abroad has risen this year. Until last year, Grahak Peth, one of the dealers of Ganpati idols, sold around 13 to 14 shadu maati idols to customers overseas. This year, they have already sold around 30 such idols so far.
“Foreign countries are far stricter than India about environmental issues. This could be the reason why more people are demanding eco-friendly idols,” said Suryakant Pathak, managing director of Grahak Peth.
The increase in the demand is despite the fact that eco-friendly idols are costlier than those made of Plaster of Paris (PoP). The reason being, says Pathak, is that shadu maati and the colour come from Gujarat and the labour charges for making such idols are higher. “Shadu maati idols cost 10 per cent more than the PoP ones. Besides, they are delicate and need to be handled carefully,” he added.
“There is a 50 per cent increase in the orders for idols from abroad. Most of the orders were from Australia, The Netherlands, USA and Canada,” said Ashish Palande, director of Palande Couriers. To avoid damage to the idols, the courier firm was using press-rubber packaging, which is considered better than thermocol or bubble packing, he added.
On an average, a medium-sized idol costs anything from Rs 300 to Rs 350. However, the courier charges may vary from Rs 5,000 to Rs 6000, depending upon the country one is sending it to. “Some countries to which my customers have sent the idols are The Netherland, USA, Dubai and Australia,” said Pathak.
Mandar Desai, director of Desai Bandhu, another prominent Ganpati idol dealer in the city, said compared to last year, the demand for eco-friendly idols shot up by almost 15 per cent this year and most of the orders were from USA and Singapore. “People prefer small idols for sending abroad. We have an offer of Rs 5,800 under which a small Ganpati idol can be sent to any place. The cost includes price of the idol, packing as well as courier charges,” said Desai.
For the last two years, city-based businessman Vikram Jadhav had been sending a PoP Ganpati idol to the Maharashtra Mandal of Toronto. This year, however, he sent an eco-friendly idol. “As the trend of eco-friendly idols has recently picked up, I sent one this year,” said Jadhav.
It amalgamates tradition with one of the greatest needs of modern times — celebrating a festival woven into the city’s fabric and ensuring it does not degrade the environment.
The effort of residents of IIT Bombay campus and nearby areas in Powai is aimed at this. The suburb’s residents go back to tradition sculpting Ganesha idols from earth taken from near their homes and return it to earth immersing it in a nearby water body.
In doing so, IIT Bombay, aided by students, faculty, residents of Powai and even some corporates, is ensuring that water of Powai lake which was one of the sources of drinking water for the city and is now declared unfit to be consumed, is not degraded further.
“Instead of buying plaster of paris idols that have toxic colours that pollute water bodies and endanger aquatic flora and fauna, participants make their own eco-friendly Ganeshas and take them home. The workshop is an ongoing effort to save Powai Lake by IIT campus residents and residents of neighbouring areas. The idea is to take from nature and return to nature, so that there is no imbalance,” said Chaitali Gupta, the coordinator of the project, from IIT Bombay campus.
They will gather on the campus on September 17-18 to create eco-friendly idols and celebrate Ganesh Mahotsav. Organised by the ‘Save Powai Lake Team’, the project called ‘Navsrujan’ (new beginning) was initiated in 2003. “Since then, the numbers have grown. Last year, we had over 700 participants and expect huge numbers this year too,” said Gupta.
The materials used for the idols include soil from the lake and natural colours. The soil is manually collected from the Powai lake, cleaned of pebbles and kneaded into fine dough. The dough is used to make the idols. “The first few steps are to build the torso, head, legs and hands. We colour it red and yellow. This is followed by addition of cone decorations, and accompaniments (the mouse and modak). Thereafter, the final touches are given,” she said.
A look at Santa Cruz resident, Yogesh Vaidya’s installations to house Lord Ganesh, popularly termed as makhars in the local lingo, hints at an ornate yet an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi.
“I have switched to makhars made of recycled paper for the past five years as thermocol is non-biodegradable,” said the ex-merchant navy officer Yogesh Vaidya.
Vaidya travelled all the way upto Virar to pickhis makhar from Vilas Murudkar, an art teacher who specialises in making antiquated eco-friendly makhars.
“There are very few artists in the city who make eco-friendly makhars. A few work out of workshops in Lalbaug, however Murudkar’s work is one of it’s kind,” said Vaidya.
Murudkar’s creations are made of newspapers and rice husk fibres. “Newspaper is torn into tiny pieces and soaked overnight. It is later rolled into a dough with mixing agents, set into earthen moulds and left to dry in sun. The makhars are finished by hand painting them,” explains Murudkar.
A graduate of JJ School of Art, Murudkar began making eco-friendly makhars, a year back after ex- mayor Shubha Raul refused to inaugurate his exhibition of thermocol installations. Priced at Rs2,500, these makhars can house two-feet idols. He has made lesser pieces this year as he rues that the public response to eco-friendly makhars is poor, last year he sold only 30 of 70 makhars he made. Murudkar however feels that with rising levels of air and soil pollution in Mumbai, the civic body needs to ban thermocol and plastic decorations in the market.
Environmental experts say that Styrofoam component in thermocol causes disposal problems and advises the masses to switch to eco-friendly decorations. Thermocol lingers in the ecosystem for more than 200 years, spreading toxins in the soil and render it infertile. Thermocol installations easily catch fire, which releases carcinogenic dioxins, that cause hormonal imbalances in people,” said environmentalist Rishi Aggarwal.
Pramod Palav, an artist from Kankavli, Sindhudurg, has proved that the height of an idol cannot be an excuse not to use environmentally friendly material. He has designed a 21-foot-tall Ganpati idol from shaadu maati (clay) and sap of ficus for a mandal in Andheri which he claims will dissolve in 15 minutes.
Apart from this, Palav has made two small eco-friendly Ganpati idols and a 6-foot-tall Ganesha using the same material.
Impressed with his work, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) authorities requested the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to find out if the material used by Palav was totally eco-friendly. “He has done a great job in making such an eco-friendly idol. It is the need of the hour to prevent pollution. We informally asked NEERI to check the material,” said Sanjay Bhuskute, spokesperson, MPCB.
Palav has accepted four other orders from mandals in the city to make eco-friendly Ganpati idols. “It is a question of hard work. Most idol makers don’t want to work hard, but want more money. That is the reason they say it is not possible to make a tall idol without using Plaster of Paris (PoP),” Palav said. He plans to organise a workshop in Mumbai next year to spread awareness about eco-friendly idols.
“I have proved for the second time that making such tall idols with eco-friendly material is not a problem. I also made 800 small idols because there is a lot of demand. Safety is not an issue if the idol is made properly. But there are very few artists left. Most of those making idols today are mere workers who use PoP,” he said.
The civic body and the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti introduced the idea of using eco-friendly natural dyes for Ganpati idols.
They also appealed to the mandals to restrict the height of idols to 10-12 feet. But most mandals refused to follow the directives.
“Last week, I went to 2-3 workshops in the city to inquire about the material they used. They showed me idols made from PoP and said they were eco-friendly models. On pointing out that the idols were not eco-friendly, they began arguing. They are fooling people by selling those idols as eco-friendly ones,” Palav told DNA.
There are others, however, who insist on having an eco-friendly idol. “We are the first mandal in the city to have a 21-foot-tall eco-friendly Ganpati idol. We immersed the idol in an artificial pond last year. It took just 15 minutes for the idol to dissolve in water,” said Nilesh Thange, president, Kranti Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Koldongri in Andheri.
According to the BMC, 9,904 Ganpati idols from sarvajanik mandals and more than 1,70,000 idols from people’s homes are immersed in Mumbai every year. Of these, most sarvajanik idols are 10-15-foot tall, while some are as high as 20-25 feet. Most of them are made of PoP.
It is easy to distinguish a PoP idol from an eco-friendly one. There is a ringing buzz when you tap a PoP idol; that is not the case with an eco-friendly idol. Also, an eco-friendly idol is light in weight.
People K. Muralidhar excels in art that is eco-friendly
In a small unassuming place on Picket Road, Secunderabad, K. Muralidhar is immersed in moulding a clay Ganesha. A bunch of women and children file around him and look on with awe. In his small gallery-studio, you can stand testimony to K. Muralidhar’s creative genius as he works on sculptures based on the Warli and Chattisgarh tribes.
Ahead of the Vinayaka Chaturthi, Muralidhar is conducting a free-workshop teaching how to make a Ganesha out of eco-friendly clay. He has encompassed all areas of oil painting, glass and fabric painting, murals, sculptures, pottery, clay paintings and other decorative items.
One can see that he has a penchant for making art out of everyday ‘waste’. He believes that art is a constant cycle of learning and adapting, and hence in his journey to learn more he has mixed, matched and experimented a lot. Muralidhar has invented a special type of clay.
He calls it the eco-friendly clay which is a mixture of recycled material like — Multani mitti, cotton and wood powder. “Natural and herbal ingredients make it soft, lightweight and unbreakable,” he says. He pauses and tends to the Ganesha he is moulding. He picks a stone and gets on his craft. He peers in and rubs his palms to soften the dough. In a matter of minutes, the Ganesha’s head, torso, feet and the mouse are ready.
He then takes a pen’s refill and dots eyes and with a blunt knife scrapes out ears and makes the creases in his dhoti. Soft detailing, works wonders, he says. “ It’s all about the clay,” says Muralidhar.
He says that it can give art a 3D effect and can be used on any surface — canvas, bottles, pvc pipes, thermocol and cardboard. The clay he says takes about two hours to dry, upon which you can use vegetable and food dyes.
Having dabbled in all kinds of art — oil, sculptures, murals, glass painting, fabric art and watercolours, K. Muralidhar likes best to go back to clay painting and hopes to create art out of ‘waste’.
Mould the clay
Want to try this art for yourself? You can get in touch with artist K. Muralidhar on 9866572242 or at his studio in Picket, Secunderabad. E-mail him email@example.com. The workshop is free, but to take the materials home, the price is Rs. 100
For those enthusiasts wanting to take eco-friendly Ganeshotsav from mere coffee table discussions to actually making Ganesh idols, which are ecologically safe, software-professional-turned artist Mandar Marathe is holding workshops to make your own ‘green’ idols.
The three-session workshop is of three hours each over three days. On day 1 and 2, participants would make Ganesh idols. In the third session, they would paint the idol, as agap of at least two weeks is required for the idols to dry.
Aniket Joshi, a standard III student said that he could not make a very good idol last year, and so joined the first batch this year. He said, “My parents have agreed to install my idol this year.” His elder brother Abhishek, of class VIII student, is also at the workshop.
So is 73-year old Wing Commander (retd) Ramesh Jog, for whom the joy of creating with his hands was incomparable. Varsha Joshi, a teacher at Paranjape Nursery School, Kothrud, is also a student of Marathe’s painting classes.
Mandar Marathe, 38, said, “It is important to inculcate the values of preserving our environment in all. These Ganesh idols can be immersed in a bucket at home, as the soil (shadu) dissolves completely in water.” Marathe has been spreading the message of home immersion for over two years.
Share a Service, the global e-NGO has made the first of its kind tallest immersible Ganesha in a very short span of one month with a team of 7 members hailed from Kolkata .we have used complete eco friendly colours ,material and the clay brought from the banks of holy river Ganges. We have brought a change in public and this year lakhs of people have used clay ganesh inspired by our continuous promotion campaign telecasted through a popular TV channel Tv9 who have sponsored the idol.
Share A Service is a Global e-NGO which shares the service of every individual and institution by connecting the needy to the helping hand..Eco ganesha is one of its numerous offline projects wherein share a service has been contributing to countless Individuals, NGO’s, Government Organizations, Donors,Needy,Voluntary Organizations,Volunteers and Service Providers whatever be their need in the field of Ecofriendly Ganesh Chavithi since the last 8 years .
- Ganesh Pandals 2011 – Popular Ganapati Pandals 2011 in Mumbai during Ganesh Chaturthi (mylordganesha.wordpress.com)
- NGO begins ‘Green Ganesha’ campaign (mylordganesha.wordpress.com)
- Potters to present green Ganesha idols in Mumbai (mylordganesha.wordpress.com)
- Pray to a foot-in-mouth Ganesha (mylordganesha.wordpress.com)
- Lord Ganesha Pooja Application (mylordganesha.wordpress.com)
By Chaitra Devarhubli, DNA
The various Ganesh mandals of the city have planned a grand Ganeshotsav this year.
They have planned events – competitions, performance by mimics, daayro singing, and several others – that will be held at most mandals for over 10 days beginning Thursday.
The venues where idols of Lord Ganesh will be installed have been tastefully decorated on different themes.
The Umasut Sarvajanik Mitra Mandal of Vasna, for instance, has planned a number of events such as Sangeet Sandhya, daayro, and comedy and mimicry performances for the festival this year.
The mandal expects to attract huge crowds this year as well. An office-bearer of the Mitra mandal told DNA they would be having an eco-friendly idol this time.
“And, like last year, we will have mimicry shows. This time we have also planned daayro singing and performance of music but the schedule has not been decided yet,” he said.
Devotees can see the tallest Ganesh idol of the city in Maninagar. It measures 21 feet in height and has been installed by Shiv Shakti Yog Mandal of Dakshini Society, Maninagar.
The unique thing about the idol is that it is made of one lakh rudraksh beads. The Mandal organizes events during Ganesh festival every year.
An office-bearer of the Mandal, Parag Naik, told DNA that they would be holding a number of competitions, including rangoli and mehndi competitions for women.
“Incidentally, we never immerse the idol but gift it to a trust. We have identified 3-4 trusts who can be gifted the idol but the name of the trust which will get it is a secret, ” Naik said.
If you go still further in Maninagar, you can see another eco-friendly Ganesh idol. This one has been installed by Shree Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Mandal of Shreepadwadi Dakshini Society.
Executive member of the mandal, Ravindra Akolkar, said that they had decorated the idol in the style of an ancient fort.
The Orissa Socio-Cultural Association will have Ganpati installed only for a single day and will have a cultural programme on Thursday evening.