How to have a greener festival

Here is where you can buy eco-friendly Ganeshas in the city. There are workshops which teach you how to make one on your own too

Chandrashekar G M working on a clay Ganesha sculpture.

Sustained awareness campaigns against Plaster of Paris (POP) idols are causing many Bengalureans to opt for environment-friendly alternatives this Ganesha Chathurthi.

Clay is first option for traditional sculptors

Sujatha Srinivasan is among the makers offering these greener versions in the city. Her stall on HAL Old Airport Road has idols ranging from 9 inches to 6 feet in height and can be customised.

“We have been idol makers for generations and have never sold POP idols. I also advise the customers to encourage others around them to make their own idols or buy eco-friendly ones,” she says. 

Sujatha adds that the number of such environmentally-aware customers has increased manifold since the last five years, as “Bengalureans are becoming increasingly aware of the harmful effects of POP idols on waterbodies.” 

Chandrashekar G M, a sculptor, has been making and selling clay idols for the last 10 years. This time, he is selling one foot high idols for Rs 551 at My Dream Garden, Banaswadi.

“I hail from Bhadravathi. Though we have made idols out of clay traditionally, commercialisation caused POP to become more popular. Thankfully, people are going back to traditional options now,” he says. He is hosting a workshop for making idols at My Dream Garden on September 1, 11 am to 1 pm. 

Lokesh Narasimha Murthy, who has been making Ganeshas for 20 years, is selling idols from home in Benson Town, Pottery Town. “My family has been in this business for almost 100 years and we have only made eco-friendly Ganeshas. The sizes vary from one inch to three feet idols and the prices are in the range of Rs 100 to Rs 5,000.”

Groups do their bit

Rotary Bangalore Green City is back with their ‘Eco-friendly seed Ganesha’ project for the third consecutive year. 

Sonam Tandan, secretary of e-club, Rotary Bangalore Green City, says, “The idols are being sold in four different zones: south, north, east and west. They are made with clay and have a seed in them, which will turn into a tulsi plant once buried. These one feet idols are sold with coco peat and a ‘visarjan’ pot for Rs 550. Gowri idols are also available for Rs 75.” 

She adds that the buyer needs to send their contact details, how many idols they want to buy and the kind they are looking for (position of the trunk, ‘nama’ of the idol etc). The nearest pickup points for the idols will be specified to the customer.

‘Let’s Be The Change’ has been conducting workshops where people can learn how to make clay idols since 2015.
Anirudh S Dutt, founder-CEO, says, “The idea is to encourage a personal bond between the idol, the festival and the person making it. The personal satisfaction one gets by making their own idol is not comparable to purchasing one from the market.”

The NGO will conduct a workshop on August 31 and September 1, from 10.30 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 6.30 pm. 

Seed Ganeshas become popular

The Purple Turtles in Indiranagar and HSR, and Go Native in HSR and Jayanagar are offering 18 cm to 28 cm ‘Seed Ganesha’ idols for prices ranging from Rs 800 to Rs 1,500. The Purple Turtles will also host a three-hour workshop on August 31 to teach people how to build a seed Ganesha idol from scratch. 

VR Bengaluru too is hosting a flea market where one can shop for eco-friendly Ganesha idols.

To spread awareness

As a precursor to the ‘Bengaluru Ganesha Utsav’ that will be held in the city, thousands of people attempted to set a Guinness World Record by sculpting their own eco-friendly Ganesha idols at National College Grounds, Basavanagudi.

Nandish S M, managing trustee with Shree Vidyaranya Yuvaka Sangha (which conducts the Utsav) says, “This record event is a first, which is meant to create awareness at a large scale. Our group will also hand out clay idols to the public for free on August 27 and 30, at National College Grounds.”

Call them

Rotary Bangalore Green City: 99009 91147 (South)/ 97418 70088 (North)/ 99450 19681 (East) / 99807 66699 (West)

Sujatha Srinivasan, HAL Old Airport Road: 98868 88117

My Dream Garden, Banaswadi: 73491 81777 / 88619 50777

Let’s Be The Change: 93532 18818

Shree Vidyaranya Yuvaka Sangha: 95904 43016/ 93420 22070

V R Bengaluru flea market: Mamata Kiran: 99000 87189

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