Making Ganesha idols a way of life for them

Damodar Shenoy, who is engaged in making Ganesha idols for the last 60 years, gives final touches to an idol of Lord Ganesha in Car Street in Mangaluru.

It is that time of the year when artisans get busy with the making of Ganesha idols of different sizes and hues in Mangaluru.

With Ganesha Chaturthi on September 2, idol makers in Mangaluru are busy catering to the demand for the idols.

The city has patronised artisans who create Ganesha idols to make the festival meaningful.

Damodar Shenoy and Vinayak Shet in Car Street are popular names among the artisans. They prefer making eco-friendly Ganesha idols using clay. “I am not into this job to earn profit,” 80-year-old Damodar Shenoy to DH.

In spite of his age, he has been enthusiastically engaged in making Ganesha idols at his shop in a lane near Venkataramana Temple on Car Street.

On how did he develop the penchant for making idols, Shenoy said he was attracted by Lord Ganesha. “I did not learn the art from any Guru. Lord Ganesha himself is my Guru and my passion for creating the idol increases with each passing year.”

Shenoy said that he starts preparing the idols three months prior to the Ganesha Chathurthi festival. He makes medium to small size Ganesha idols.

“I use only clay to make idols. When artistes started using plaster of paris for making idols, I did not follow them. Though it is difficult to source clay in the recent past after the closure of tile factories, I source clay from a factory at Bolar in Mangaluru,” he said.

“Further, I do not use any mould or iron rods to make the idols. Instead, I knead the clay and give shape from my own hand. I give prominence to eyes, ears, hands and other minute details on the idol. It takes a minimum of four to five days to finish an idol. Earlier, I was using water colour for the idols. However, water colours get spoiled with a drop of water. This year, I have made 30 idols,” says Shenoy.

For 29 years

Vinayak Shet, another artisan from Car Street, makes beautiful Ganesha idols using colours which easily dissolve in water.

“The colours that I use are less harmful,” said Shet.

He has been making idols for the past 29 years and has sculpted more than 100 idols this year.

Fifteen idols prepared by him are used in ‘Sarvajanika Ganeshotsava’ at Kavoor, Assaigoli, Urwa, Konchadi and other places.

“I source clay from Kota in Kundapur. With the mould, at least five Ganesha idols can be prepared in a day. I prepare idols with the help of my assistants,” Shet added.

Shet said, “I learnt this art from my teacher M S Kudva, who was a guide for many sculptors, in Mangaluru. I was drawn to the making of Ganesha idols since my childhood”.

“Through Ganeshotsava celebrations, sculptors and artisans get support from the public. Further, clay used in making idols has medicinal values in it,” he said.

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