The Gods love a splash of colours going by a unique tradition which has been prevalent in Bhankur village in Shahabad taluk for decades. People offering sweets, coconuts, clothes, cash and jewellery to the gods once their wishes have been fulfilled, is quite common. But what getting the idol painted in a new colour to fulfill a vow ? That’s something which is sure to make many sit up in their seats.
At Bhankur, devotees do exactly this, painting the idol of lord Ganesha in new colours once their vows are fulfilled. Result: the 10-feet high “Dodda Ganesha” gets a change of colour eight to ten times in a month. This practice has been in vogue for the last thirty five years or so, though the idol itself is more than a hundred years old. “Earlier, Dodda Ganesha used to get a new coat of paint once in three-four months. But with so many devotees now visiting the place, there is a new colour once in 4-5 days”, says 40-year-old Veeranna, a social worker from the village.
Situated atop a hillock with huge granite boulders, the legend has it that the idol is that of Udbhava-Ganesha (natural and not man-made). Villagers aver that the idol grows by an inch or two every year. There is also a belief that to arrest the idol’s growth, someone once hit it with a hammer thus stopping the growth. There is no temple or priest around with the devotees performing pooja on their own. When their vows are fulfilled, they get boxes of paint and hire the services of nearby painters to get it painted. Though the place has been drawing large crowds, no steps have been taken to develop infrastructure.
By Kanika Sikka
Mumbai‘s favourite god made a grand entrance this year with his graceful trunk, stunning jewellery and alluring avatar. Meet the person who added enthusiasm to this fervour by invoking lord Ganesha into these idols- Sapre Guruji.
Performing religious ceremonies since childhood, guruji took this up as a full-time profession in 1989 after undergoing a proper training. Ganesh Chaturthi, being one of the most important day for almost all Mumbaiites, is an essential day for guruji, who performs the Ganesha puja in various houses in Thane area of Mumbai.
His day on Ganesh Chaturthi starts like any other day. “I get up at 5 in the morning, finish the daily puja in my house and then get done with the chores,” he said. Guruji, who visits just five to six houses on the day, sets out for performing puja by about 7am.
Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the busiest day for all those priests who perform the Ganesha puja, it is obvious that overshooting time, starting late, etc is faced by almost all households who wait for the priest to perform the ceremonial puja and invoke life into their charming idols. Sapre guruji, however, says that none of his hosts (yajman, as he calls them) has to wait for him. He reaches every house at promised timing.
Impossible, you may think. But guruji explains that he promises to visit only 6-7 houses in a day and performs a one-hour- long puja for each house. He does not move out of his area, which helps him save on his travel time. “A proper ceremony for me, takes about an hour.It follows the various procedures of the Ganesha puja. So my day happens to pass like that while I travel from one house to another with an hour’s puja in each house,” he says.
The priests are often seen in a hurry, which forces them to cut down on their time for puja, but Sapre guruji says he does not compromise on his quality of puja. “I’d rather perform a quality puja and satisfy the devotees so that they have a peaceful and joyous Ganesh Chaturthi. There is no point in holding 15 minutes services and running away. It disappoints the devotees and does not give me any peace of mind either,” says guruji, who wraps up his day by 1pm.
Speaking about the procedure followed in the Ganesh Chaturthi puja, guruji explains the process of bringing life to Ganesh idols.
“You start by praying to Lord Ganesha and recite mantras or bhajans dedicated to Lord Ganesha. In these mantras, we recall as to what we are doing at that moment and why we are doing so,” says guruji.
“Various prayers are said during this process. Following which, all the equipments used in the puja are cleaned and purified. After this, the idol is brought to life through pran-prathishta. Lord Ganesha is hence invoked to add soul to the idol. This is followed by shhodashopachara, which are the 16 ways of paying tribute to lord Ganesha. This includes panchamrit puja i.e. Ganesha’s idol is washed with 5 essential things- milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar; the atharvashirsha is then recited.”
“The idol is then dressed up with royal clothes in the process called janeu dharna and decked up with jewellery, after which it is anointed with red unguent or sandal paste,” guruji explains.
After this, each body part of the idol is then prayed to, which is called angapuja. “Patripuja is where lord is offered 21 of his favourite leaves. Bhirgaraj, tulsi, karaveera, machi, are the most common type of these leaves,” says guruji.
These ceremonies are followed by the mantras which call upon Lord Ganesha saying, “Like each year, I invite you to my house. If any of us has made any mistakes, please excuse us and please give us a good sense and guide us into the right direction in life.”
For the 10 days following Ganesh Chaturthi, guruji does other pujas in various homes across the city. Not only homes, guruji also performs the ceremonies for mandals or community Ganesha.
Though most of the priests prefer not to go and perform the Ganeshchaturthi puja for any of the Ganpati mandals, Sapre guruji differs in his views. Most of the priests feel that there is no respect when it comes to a community ganpati. It is usually observed that for such mandals, the 11 days of Ganpati is merely a competition or an excuse for celebration, with the religious meaning of the festival taking a back-seat.
However, guruji feels it is not so in every case. Unlike most other priests, each year, guruji performs the ganesh chathurthi puja for Highland Residency, a housing complex in Thane. The building reunites as one big family while guruji performs the ceremony on the day they bring ganpati to their building.
Being the man who actually gets idols to life, guruji accepts that these 11 days are his busiest day of the year.
The horror of the recent terror attacks may have settled in the minds of the people during Janamashtmi, which saw less enthusiasm this year, Ganeshotsav is all set to get people out of their fears and reunite as everyone shouts ‘ganpati bappa moriya‘. As guruji says, Ganesha is the ‘vignaharta‘, he will not let any problem touch his followers.
Vara Ganapati is one among the 32 forms of Ganesh and he has Pushti Devi as his consort. The popular belief is that this form of Ganapathi can be easily pleased and He fulfills all the desires. Vara Ganapati mantra is
Sindhoorabhimabhananam trinayam haste cha pashankushou
Bibhranam madhumat kapalamanisham sadhivindumouli bhaje
Pushtyashilshyathatanum dhvajagrakarayaa padyollasadhastyaa
Tadhyonyahita panimattamasumata patrollasat Pushkaram
Vara Ganapathi is depicted as having a vermilion complexion. This form has a third eye on the forehead. The four hands hold a crescent moon, noose, goad and Pushti Devi. The Goddess is depicted as holding lotus and a flag.
This is a happy form of Ganesha.
Exclusive temples dedicated to this form of Ganapati is very rare. But this form is found as subsidiary deity in some temples in Karnataka.
Lord Ganesha is treated with a lot of reverence and respect among Hindus. Before starting a task or carrying on an auspicious ritual lord Ganesha is the first one to be worshipped.
Lord Ganesha is the God of knowledge wisdom, and fine arts. He is worshipped before the start of a new venture, because he unfolds the secrets of spirituality as well as life. We can learn the secrets of life management from lord Ganesha.
The small eyes of lord Ganesha educate us to have a subtle and analytical view about an issue. The long trunk, capable to smell from a distance, teaches to have judiciousness. Lord Ganesha has two teeth, one is fully grown and other half grown. The full grown tooth is the symbol of belief, whereas another one represents wisdom and intellect.
According to scriptures, lord Ganesha is regarded as the remover of disruption and disorder. Due to these attributes, the tradition of portraying Ganesha on marriage invitation cards came in practice. With this, he is requested to remove all hurdles and hindrances likely to interrupt the occasion of marriage.
Source: Daily Bhaskar
“People in Mehsana are proud of the fact that we have kept the tradition alive for such a long period,” said Mahanth Ganesh Dasji of the Ganpati temple.
Superintendent of police (SP), Mehsana, R J Sawani said, “The custom is now rooted in the culture of the place.
Offering guard of honour to the Lord on Ganesha Chaturthi has become a part of cultural history of Mehsana.”
“It has also become a part of our faith. We put forward our demands in his court on his birthday and the Lord invariably sanctions them. This is our unshakable belief,” said Mukund Patel, the vice president of the civic body here.
“Last year, we had prayed for keeping our town free of epidemics like swine flu and also sought his mercy in form of good monsoon. He granted both,” Patel said, adding, “This time, we have urged the Lord to uphold a balance in the sex ratio of male and female in our area in the current census year. In 2001, our district had finished at the bottom.”
Launched by Agashe Sahib, the well-known Suba of Mehsana, in 1933 in the presence of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaikwad, it kind of became a tradition in the coming years. Offering guard of honour to Lord Ganesha on behalf of the Gaikwad state became a custom which has since been continuing. Chairman of Utsav Samiti Manu Wardhiwala said, “Sayajirao Gaikwad would pay regular visits to the Siddhivinayak temple and invariably offer prayer to the Lord.”
“There was a break in 2005, when the tradition could not be observed for some reason. As a result, people had to go through a lot of hardship. We witnessed calamities like torrential rains and flood and also the outbreak of fatal diseases,” said Mahanth Ganesh Das.
Read more: Lord Ganesha gets guard of honour in Mehsana – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/rajkot/Lord-Ganesha-gets-guard-of-honour-in-Mehsana/articleshow/6532948.cms#ixzz0zFcFiKsi
Mysore: With recent advances in technology making in-roads into every walk of our lives, the traditional way of doing things are slowly giving way to mass online products at factory outlets. One such victim is the traditional clay models of Ganesha idols, that were made by hand using raw clay (not baked), being replaced by glittering Plaster of Paris(PoP) Ganeshas produced using moulds & painted.
About 35 potter families living in Kumbarageri, off Irwin Road in city, who have been traditionally making Lord Ganesha and Gowri idols every year during the festival using only raw clay are a worried lot as the demand for the idols this year has not reached their expected mark compared to previous years. Sculpting of idols usually begins several months in advance and is a time consuming job as each idol is moulded with bare hands.
Speaking to Star of Mysore, Revanna, a trader of these idols on K.T. Street, observed that the readymade idols brought from other States for sale here has affected the local artisans badly.
The Yuva Mandalis, who celebrated the festival on a grand scale by erecting Pandals and Shamiyanas near street corners, are also gradually dwindling.
They always placed orders for huge idols which in turn fetched higher profits for traders. With the number of such associations organising the event on the wane, the traders are forced to depend only on individual customers.
To add variety to the Mysore style of Ganesha idols, traders are catering to customers who insist on new designs. Based on demand, traders bring idols with various designs and styles made in Mumbai and Kolkata. In spite of local artisans from Kumbarageri catering to the bulk of the demand, many traders continue to get idols from outside. While the Mumbaistyle idols are sourced from Mumbai and Pune, traders sometimes source them from Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. Idols are also brought from Tumkur and Bangalore. Some have even ventured selling Gok-arna-style idols. The characteristic feature of Gokarna Ganesha is that it does not sport a crown. According to legend, Ganesha’s crown was struck down by Ravana at Gokarna for placing Shiva’s Athmalinga on the earth.
Revanna says though he is not interested in bulk sales, he still manages to sell some idols every year, in spite of being affected by the recession. He says the Mumbai idols have their own set of customers. He claims that he is the only dealer selling idols that conform to the norms set by Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). While the idols brought by others is made of PoP, his is made of clay. The sale of clay idols has not picked up despite being eco-friendly and having religious connotations. A small percentage of his customers do not immerse the idols after the festival. They keep the idols in their house for their sheer artistic and aesthetic values. This also prevents environmental pollution to some extent, he says.
To minimise lead poisoning, Mysore Paints and Varnish Ltd. (MPVL) along with the Mysore branch of KSPCB has persuaded artisans to use only lead-free paint on Ganesha and Gowri idols. Revanna said: “I paint my idols with lead-free paints supplied by MPVL. It is beneficial both for us as well as the environment. I even encourage other idol-makers to follow this.”
In spite of all these odds, artisan in Kumbarageri are still continuing their tradition by bringing out new designs every year.
• It was due to the efforts of freedom fighter and social reformer Lokamanya Balagangadahar Tilak that organising Ganesha festivals attained the status of a popular public event which brought the masses together from various backgrounds turning them into a force against the British rule.
• Ganesha idols made of clay is considered to be more auspicious as according to the Puranic references the first idol of the Lord was made out of grime and mud.
• Idols made of PoP or painted with synthetic paints when immersed in local water bodies, increases the salinity of the surface water resulting in skin diseases. These PoP idols float on water and are not dissolved. Drinking such water leads to indigestion in both humans and cattle.
• Pramod Vitthal Palav, a sculptor from Kankavali in Sindhudurg, has invented an idol manufacturing process by mixing clay with fig tree juice, paper and glue. The mixture dissolves in water in less than 15 minutes.
Puja at the press of a button!
As priests are in heavy demand on the day of Ganesha Chaturthi and with the pujas lasting a couple of hours, people find it difficult to get priests to visit their homes and perform pujas. It is the same technology that has once again come to the rescue — Pre-recorded audio cassettes are available on sale that details the procedures for performing the Puja along with the relevant mantras. One has to just press the button to play this cassette and proceed with the worship!
Source: Star of Mysore
Ganesh is a secular god and his festival is celebrated by many irrespective of religion, caste or community. The festival brings in harmony. Expectedly, those who perform puja are in high demand. Atul Peshkar, a priest, has several jobs already scheduled. He performs around 15 ceremonies in one day. “I have to go around according to time people give me. Sometimes, thanks to high demand, I have to turn down some people,” he says. “What can I do? We are quite busy in this season. So it’s really difficult for me to please everybody,” he adds. Some, like Kishore Rode, have been performing ceremonies for the last eight years.
He steps out of his house at 5 am on Ganesh Chaturthi and works until late night. “It is a hectic day for me since last few years. I take up around 10 ceremonies for the day and try to complete them all.” Even people seem to be in a hurry to complete puja these days. “I am able to complete them because people these days are in a hurry. The young generation keeps egging me on to complete the ceremony in an hour or so,” he says.
Shashikant Bagwe, the Ganesha idol maker’s favourite part of the Ganesh festival — when the work is done and the praise starts coming in. The idol-maker, like most of them in the city, has been working over-time to give the idols finishing touches and ready them for their glitzy pandals in homes or with big mandals.
As Ganesh Chaturthi, the first day of the festival, draws nearer these artists are waiting with equal enthusiasm for a few days of rest and a heap of compliments for their work.
“An artist always needs appreciation,” said Shashikant Bagwe of the Bagwe Brothers from Parel. They run an idol-making workshop where artists usually work for 12 hours a day. “We’re looking forward to it more this year since we have been doing 16-hour shifts to complete idols on time,” Bagwe said.
Several idol-makers in the city were suffering from malaria and, to add to that, three days of heavy rain last week delayed work forcing many workshops to pump in more time.
“The first few days of the Ganesh festival are definitely rest time for us, once our job is done,” said Santosh Kambli, whose team from Kambli Arts is busy crafting the city’s most popular Ganpati, Lalbaugcha Raja, to perfection.
Once idol-makers have caught up on sleep and rest, they spend the 10-day festival enjoying the success of their efforts. “Mandals invite us as guests of honour for pujas. People, who come for darshan, also come up to us and appreciate our work,” said Ramesh Rawle, another well-known idol maker from Parel, who is working despite suffering from chikungunya to meet his Thursday deadline for delivering idols.
Public praise is the biggest motivation for set designers such as Kishore Mankar to create elaborate Ganesh pandals. “We usually do sets for films and theme parties, but this is the one platform in the city where our work is publicly recognised,” said Mankar, whose RED Designs is creating a huge Shivling-theme pandal at Sewri this year.
For most artists, appreciating the work of others in their profession is an important part of the festival, and they spend several days touring Ganesh pandals throughout the city.
“You can get new ideas and expand your creativity only by seeing the work of your peers,” Mankar said.
Source: Hindustan Times
Celebrate Ganesh Chathurthi the natural way. Get some clay and make your own idol at home. Paint it with natural pigments such as turmeric, multani mitti and red earth. Decorate it with leaves, flowers and fruits. If you want to make some decorations use paper, or even a plant called Shola which is used widely in Calcutta for Durga Puja decorations. Shola pith is biodegradable.
One with nature :A clay Ganesha.
Immerse the idol in a bucket of clean water at home. Watch it dissolve and then pour the water into a plant or into your garden. This way, your prayers will reach back to the Lord of the Earth, without causing any damage to our environment.
With the flowers that you have used for worship, you can either make compost or you can dry them and learn to make natural colours from them.
On September 11 we will be starting to celebrate the festival of Ganesh Chathurti — we bring home an idol, worship it and then immerse it in water. Often we may remember the legend associated with Ganesha’s birth, but few of us know how the traditions of the festival began.
Back to earth
Of the five elements that make up everything in Nature, Fire, Water, Air, Earth and Ether — Gan esha is supposed to be the Lord of the Earth element — Prithvi tattva. In ancient times, agricultural communities were very conscious of their dependence on the fertility of the earth, because they knew that it is the source of all our food. During the monsoons, as the overflowing rivers deposited fresh fertile soil on their banks, farmers and their families would bring home a handful of this soil and worship it. They would offer gratitude to the earth in this way and when their ritual was over they would bring back this soil to the banks of the river and immerse it back in the flowing waters.
This ancient tradition has seen many transformations, the mound of earth took the form of Ganesha and it is now the festival of Ganesh Chathurti. Earlier, people made their idols from the earth they brought home. Slowly it got replaced by beautifully sculpted idols made by craftsmen. Earth was replaced by Plaster of Paris and then chemical paints were added to it..
Plaster of Paris is a man made substance that does not degrade easily. Chemical oil paints contain heavy metals such as lead and mercury and these are toxic to all life. Idols made out of these substances create havoc in the natural water bodies because they poison the water and the fishes living in it. A ritual that began in gratitude to the Earth is now causing environmental damage to it because of modern substances.
Source: The Hindu
- Don’t buy painted Ganesh idols, State tells people (thehindu.com)
Scores of Lord Ganesha idols are lined together at every corner of the room, of variant sizes, shapes, colours and forms. It is not a shop selling Ganesha idols but a personal collection of Pabsetti Shekhar, a bank employee who has been collecting the Vinayaka idols for the past 38 years. Today, he boasts a collection of 11,160 or rather as he takes out three more idols from his bag, 11,163 idols and 14,152 photographs.
“I am planning to construct a spacious hall where I can display all the idols properly. The current room has no further space,” he remarks while proudly displaying his current collection.
“As a child I always used to sketch and draw Ganesh idols. Back in 1973, I had visited the Shirdi temple with my family and was absolutely inspired by the Lord Ganesha’s idol. Ever since then I have been collecting or making Ganesh idols and paintings. My first idol was for 50 paisa,” says P Shekhar as he reminisces his initial days.
The Ganesha connoisseur who recently entered the Limca Book of Records has all the 32 forms of Ganesh statuettes from the Bala Ganapathi to the Sankathara Ganapathi.
Whether it is any kind of exhibition, shop or even ordering it online, there is no stopping him from adding more idols to his eclectic collection.
He now aspires to enter the Guinness Book of World Records. “I have recently bought a Panchamukhi Ganesh idol and my aim is to collect over a lakh of idols,” he adds.
Apart from collecting and making them, he is also involved in the construction of a Ganesh Temple at Yadagirigutta. “I am not doing this for commercial reasons. I want people to come to the temple and be at peace. There will be a meditation room, free bus service to the temple and prasad,” explaining his future plans.
“My doors are always open. People can come and look at the collection anytime. I want them to forget all their worries and leave feeling happy and calm,” says the collector adding, “Spirituality has become very commercial.
People should be able to find some time in the day to think about God, that is all that is required.”