Idol makers of Mysore

REVIVING TRADITIONAL ARTS: The Rajus of Mysore have retained traditional methods of idol making. Photo by the author

With Ganesha Chaturthi festivities round the corner, idols makers throughout the state are busy at their craft. The idols available in the markets across the state look similar, as if they have been taken out from the same mould. Besides, the designs and colours applied on these idols also look alike.

While the mould is largely used today, in earlier times, clay artistes would painstakingly make Ganesha with their own hands. Individual creativity reigned then. However, there are some artisans who have retained traditional methods of idol making. The family of Suryanarayana Raju of Mysore is one such.

Bhoga Narasimha Raju and Jagadhish Raju, sons of Suryanarayana Raju have been striving to revive the dying traditional method of Ganesha making. They learnt the art of making clay idols in the free hand style from their father, who passed away recently.
The idols they make are unique in designs and dyes. The body and face of the mud idol is taken out from a cement mould, which is more than seven decades old. They have also taken up eco-friendly painting of the idols, in keeping with the times. Though this form of traditional art consumes more time, Raju’s family is concerned about saving this
traditional art inherited from their forefathers.

Ashok Uchangi

Gargeshvari, famed for its Ganesha temple

“Our Ganesha is camera shy, but of course, you can take shots of the temple,” said the priest enthusiastically briefing me about Gargeshvari temple and the Ganesha there in particular.

A backward village, a  place of communal  harmony, Gargeshvari has an ancient temple of Ardnarishavara also called Prasanna Parvathy Parmeshwara.

The village is named after the legendary saint Gargeya. The main attraction of this village temple is Siddhi Vinayaka, better known as Yantrodharaka Ganapathi.

Devotees from all over offer poojas to Gargeshvari Ganapathi. The place has a small idol that can be easily lifted even by children, (but it depends on the Ganesha according to the temple priest.)

 “You have a problem, a question, a doubt or a wish, if you can lift the idol up it is a good sign, a green signal to go ahead with your plans. When you are unable to lift the idol even after repeated attempts it is a hint from Ganesha  to avoid risky ventures,” he explains.

Gargeshvari temple is one of the main temples dedicated to holy Panchalingas, Gargeshvara, Agasthesvara, Bhiksheshwara, Markendeswara and Somanatheswara, all located on the banks of Triveni Sangama flowing through T Narasipura. The village Gargeshvari is three km from T Narasipura known as Thirumakudulu where the widely known Kumbhamela is held once in three years.

A thirty-kilometre journey on the Mysore-Narasipura road takes you to Garghesvari. To offer poojas to the famed Yantrodharaka Ganesha, you can visit the temple any day but, if you have intend on getting predictions from Gargeshvara Ganesha (by lifting the idol if you can) visit the temple on Saturdays.

S V Upendra charya

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