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The tint just got greener this year

Reshma R, Bangalore, August 29, 2013, DHNS:

Eco-friendly Ganeshas

A 16-foot tall Rajasthani style Ganesha idol, costing Rs 2 lakh, on display on RV Road. DH Photo

Years of perseverance seem to have paid off for environmentalists advocating eco-friendly Ganesha idols. Vendors selling the idols this year have reported a 60 per cent surge in demand for eco-friendly idols of the elephant god from buyers in the City.

The Ganesha festival is slated to be celebrated on September 9.

The trend offers a ray of hope for those striving to protect the dying lakes, often contaminated by hazardous colours that the idols are painted with, during the immersion of idols post-festival.

“We celebrate the festival on a grand scale and the entire family gets together. For the past five years, we have made it a point to buy only clay Ganesha,” said Ranjini, a resident of Jayanagar.

A number of non-government organisations are creating awareness among the youth to buy eco-friendly Ganeshas, instead of those which have oil paint on them.

“We will reach out to a couple of colleges and schools and promote the use of eco-friendly idols,” said Hemanth K V a member of the Spirit group.

“There is so much demand for clay idols that we have manufactured them in large numbers this time,” said Srinivas, who works with seven of his brothers to mould the idols. On R V Road, famous for its Ganesha idols, clay ones are a lot more common this year, than Plaster of Paris idols.

Idol-makers have this year chosen the ‘Anna Bhagya’ theme, the Re 1 per kg of rice scheme launched by the government. Figures of beneficiaries are seen receiving the rice from that of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in front of an idol of Ganesha. Srinivas and his team of workers have come up with a 13-piece clay set painted in vegetable colours, depicting the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme. The set costs Rs 20,000.

“Each year we represent what is popular and in news,” said the 55-year-old idol maker. He expressed disappointment over the work not getting recognition.

From small idols of Ganesha that are priced Rs 20 to the made-to-order ones that cost thousands of rupees, there are idols to cater to everyone’s affordability. Rajasthani and Gujarati style idols are also attracting attention. The Ardhanareeshwara idol of Ganesha is also popular. There seems to be a growing trend for Odisha Ganesha too. There is a single piece of this, crafted by artisans from Kolkata and is priced at more than Rs one lakh.

 The 17-foot tall Ganesha that was brought to the City from Hyderabad is priced at Rs two lakh and is the most expensive one on sale. Plaster of Paris forms a major portion of this idol, but 20 per cent of it is fibre used in the manufacture of car doors. Finally, the green concern seems to be catching up this time round.


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