The Lower Parel railway workshop Ganesh idol is a burning example of how to put waste to best use. The six-foot-tall idol made entirely from dumped railway bogie parts stands proudly inside a temple made from scrap generated by the workshop. The Lord and His abode are so unique, it is hard to miss them even amid the hectic activity around.
“I created the idol around three years ago. All of us who work here pray to it every day. It is a symbol of our dedication to railways. It sends out the message that even scrap is given the form of God here,” said Santosh Gajakosh, a grade-I fitter who maintains old coaches, beats iron panels into shape and repairs equipment.
While the idol trunk is made of equalising stay rods, milk tank brass hangers make its ears and air suspension cylinders the body. The idol is repainted and decorated before every Ganesh and other festivals.
The heavy duty railway workshop at Mahalaxmi too is a proud possessor of two such Ganesh idols and an ‘iron man’.
“It takes 10-12 days to complete the work,” said Ganesh Laxman Ambekar, a grade-I welder who has made the two idols, one showing Ganpati playing a musical instrument.
The ‘iron man’ gifted by bogie assembling unit staff to Indian Railways on the 85th anniversary of electrification of WR, is symbolic of the core nature of the Mahalaxmi workshop that maintains local trains.
Ambekar and Gajakosh’s enthusiasm is shared by Rajan Bhagwat, a junior engineer in the mechanical department of the diesel locomotive shed in Pune. He also spends considerable time and effort in creating idols from scrap.
“In 2001, I made an idol of Lord Ganesh for installation in the bungalow of then Central Railway general manager. In 2003, I made another idol for then GM’s Peddar Road bungalow using scrap from diesel locomotives at the shed. I used the lid of a filter drum to make the face of the idol. I have also made idols of Balaji and Padmavathi from scrap. The satisfaction is immense,” said Bhagwat.
It is said that; in 1299 AD, there was a war between King Hammeer and Alauddin Khilji. During the time of war they filled there godowns with foods and all the necessary things in Ranthambhore Fort, where King resides. Since the war lasted for several years, the stock in godowns were over. One night when King Hammer; who was a great devotee to God Ganesh, was sleeping, he dreamed that Lord Ganesh came to him and said that by tomorrow morning all the problems and lacking would be over. In the morning an idol of Lord Ganesh with three eyes*(Trinetra), was found embossed from one of the fort’s wall. As a miracle the war was over and the godowns were full. In 1300 AD King Hammer built a temple of Lord Ganesh and placed Riddhi Siddhi, his wife and two sons Shub Labh along with the idol of Ganesh. His vehicle mushak (mouse) is also placed there.
The temple situated on the palace of Ranthambore fort about 12 kms from Sawai Madhopur.
Ganesh Chaturthi holds a special place in Ranthambore and is celebrated to commemorate the origin of Lord Ganesh, who is said to have been born on this day. The Ganesha temple in the fort of Ranthambore is one of the most eminent Ganesha temples of Rajasthan.
On this day, thousands of devotees visit the temple. There are songs and ‘bhajans’ praising Lord Ganesha. The area has its own share of markets where you can find general merchandise and small trinkets to shop for.
The Ranthambhore fort, in turn, is said to have got its name from two adjoining hills – Rann and Thambhore. It lies on the Thambhore hill, overlooking the Rann and offers some breathtaking views of the Park.
The walls of the fort are about 7 kilometers in length and include an area of nearly 4 square kilometers. All around the fort, one can see many old ruins, including palaces, temples, cenotaphs, step-wells and houses.
The Ranthambore fort is surrounded by massive stonewalls which are strengthened by towers and bastions. The stone for the masonry was mined from inside the Fort and the mines were later turned into ponds for water storage.
The main approach to the Fort lies through a narrow valley, which had four fortified gateways. Of these, only the first gate – Misradhara gate, is still standing. There are many ruined buildings inside the Fort, with Hammir’s Court, Badal Mahal, Dhula Mahal and Phansi Ghar being the most prominent of them. The Fort also has many cenotaphs, temples and gates.
The Ganesh Temple, which lies very close to the main entry gate to the Fort, attracts a steady flow of pilgrims, mainly from the rural hinterland. During the annual Ganesh festival, tens of thousands of pilgrims visit the temple, from all over the country.
Most of the visitors to the Fort tend to stay in the Western part of the Fort. Very few visitors go to the eastern part of the fort, which is nearly wild. A small perennial stream called Gupt Ganga flows in this part of the Fort. Here one can see a large number of birds, Langurs, the odd small cat and sometimes, even leopards. The fort is one of the best places to look for the very rare and elusive Fishing cat.
The fort is a must see for all visitors to Ranthambhore. A good day to visit the fort is Wednesday, the day of the Lord Ganesh, when a lot of local people visit the Ganesh temple dressed in their best finery.
Report by Akshya Rout; Jajpur: Years after year, they make hundreds of clay status of deity Ganesh , the symbols of knowledge , education, good fortune and prosperity , but prosperity , education and good fortune, the attributes of the God Ganesh elude the sculptors and their children in Jajpur district.
As thousands of devotees prepare to conduct “Ganesh Puja” on 1st, September , the artisans at Kumbharsahii village 5 km from here are busy giving finishing touches to the idols. Many illiterate and poor artisans are making the images of the knowledge and good fortune as their parents could not afford to provide them education. Ramesh Behera (17)is one of the illiterate boys who makes idols since five years .
Not many in the district and its nearby areas, who celebrate the festival with verve and devotion, know that the beautifully crafted idols come from a nondescript village Kumharsahi. About 40 families of the village including men, women and children, contribute their mite to the making of the idols of the gods and goddess during the sundry festival seasons.
Raghu Behera (50) a sculptor said they made about 400 images of Ganesh every year. These were sold in the district and other areas of the state. He said till five years ago, all the artisans were making clay idols. At present they have graduated to using plaster of Paris with jute to make terracotta idols. The process is more complicated and labour intensive compared to the traditional style of idol making with clay.
“We earn about four thousand to make a five-feet high image of deity Ganesh . At least five potters work ten days to create the earthen image. My ten year son Gourang is also giving me helping hand to make the images”, said an artisan Santosh Behera.
“We supply the images of Lord Ganesh to almost all the schools, colleges and other educational institutions . But our children never go to the schools for reading”, said Gadadhar Behera (54) an artisan of Kumharsahi.
The new techniques give the idols a better finish and increases durability. The work often gets divided and sub-divided among the families with each member specialising in a particular aspect.
Another artisan, Dibakar Behera (35),who became an expert idol maker at the age of 17,said that it is a boom time during the each festival season but the idol making arts still lurks in the wings. Sidelined by the cheap plastic idols and lack of monetary support the age old craft is fighting for survival.
The bright colours and sparkle of the decorations of the idols hide the abject poverty of the artisans. Manas Behera (28) an artisan said even though the entire family pitches in to make the idols, most of the people find it difficult to eke out a living.
The artisans do not get any financial assistance from the government. Since idol making is a seasonal activity, banks shy away from lending them the required funds. The only recourse left is to borrow from the money lenders as an astronomical annual interest rate up to 50 to 60 percent, alleged Madanmohan Behera (45) of village Kumbharsahi.
“Once the festival is over, most of us rendered jobless till the next festivals . But few potters eke out their livings by making earthen pots and other items. Three decades back, large number of people used to depend on earthen pots for cooking and keeping water in their homes. But now-a-days few people use the earthen items for their household purposes”, Pitambar Behera an artisan.
“We take great care to make the idols as perfect as possible knowing fully well that after the Puja celebration, idols were destined to be immersed in the rivers”, said Laxman Behera.
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.
Yavatmal: Devotees and pilgrims from all over the region have started thronging the famous vedic Chintamani temple at Kalamb, 22 km away from the city, for the last couple of days to have a glimpse of the Lord Ganesh and seek his blessings.
There are many legends about the inception of the temple, installation of the idols of Ganesh and other gods and goddesses in and around the temple.
Kalamb, which got its name from the common tree Kadambu found in the area, was known as the city of ’14 Chavadi and 32 Mahals’ and it was the seat of the famous tribal Gond king.
Himansshu Bhatt, TNN
SURAT: Diamond city is all geared up to welcome Lord Ganesh. More than 25,000 idols of different sizes and shapes will become the part of our life for 10 days from September 1, 2011. Over 6,000 mandals have made all the preparations in rainy days to install their loving Lord Ganesh in different nooks and corners of the city.
“Just last week POP idols were cleared by court and so last-minute rush is expected,” said Anil Biscuitwala, in-charge president of Surat Ganesh utsav Samiti. “As POP was banned, many artists stayed away from it and this resulted in not many POP idols being sold in the city. However, now many have brought in POP idols and are selling in the city but as they are very highly priced, there are not many buyers.” He added.” We will have at the most 5 to 10 per cent of POP idols this year as they sell at double the price of clay idols.” he said.
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.
Ganesh Chaturthi is the perfect time to indulge in some tempting modaks. Synonymous with Lord Ganesh, it is said that he couldn’t resist the sweet dumpling, which is traditionally stuffed with jaggery and coconut. However, for those who like to experiment with their delicacies, you can now try interesting and non-traditional variations of the sweet this festive season.
One of the most popular variations are the chocolatey version. “Brownie modaks are an all-time favourite with the kids and elders too. They’re eggless, have chocolate coating and are stuffed with brownie filling,” says Bandra resident Prakash Shah who also makes Salli Supari modaks. “Salli supari is considered to be auspicious. We thought it was perfect to bring out modaks in these flavours as it is used as shagun during such festivals,” informs Prakash.
Chef Gautam Mehrishi, from a Juhu-based hotel, is busy whipping up Mehak modaks for his guests. The mehak modak is made up of gulkand and paan. But that is not the only hatke modak recipe that Gautam has been creating. “I’m doing away with the dumpling’s exterior in some modaks. For instance, I’m making Khajur modaks, a fruit and dry fruit modak. With these, I have avoided using the white base and moulded the modak directly,” says Gautam. He, too, has chocolate modaks on his list. “I’m preparing modaks in dark, white and all kinds of chocolate,” he concurs.
Its “Visions of the Cosmos” exhibition, which ended May 10, reportedly exhibited various Hindu artworks, including “The Churning of the Ocean”.
Applauding Rubin Museum for celebrating Lord Ganesh and exhibiting Hindu focused art, noted Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, said that art had a long and rich tradition in Hinduism and ancient Sanskrit literature talked about religious paintings of deities on wood or cloth.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged major art museums of the world, including Musee du Louvre and Musee d’Orsay of Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Los Angeles Getty Center, Uffizi Gallery of Florence (Italy), Art Institute of Chicago, Tate Modern of London, Prado Museum of Madrid, National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, etc., to frequently organize Hindu art focused exhibitions, thus sharing the rich Hindu art heritage with the rest of the world.
RMA is home to a comprehensive collection of art from the Himalayas and surrounding regions. It has over 2,000 works of art including Himalayan paintings, sculpture, textiles, ritual objects, and prints, starting from second century, and draws over 100,000 visitors a year. Donald Rubin is the CEO.
Ganesh-Chaturthi, celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesh, falls on September 11 this year. One of most widely worshipped deities in Hinduism, elephant headed (with a broken tusk) and human bodied Lord Ganesh is regarded as god of wisdom and good luck, patron of learning and remover of obstacles, and invoked at the commencement of all undertakings. He is said to have equivalents in Buddhism and Jainism also. Business people and students present their books to Lord Ganesh to ensure good fortune.
Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal. (ANI)