The above news item is from this calendar year. Almost 120 days after the Ganesha Chaturthi. Yes, POP idols are banned – but they are still being used.
For long Bengaluru has been losing both it’s green cover to rapid expansion and it’s lakes to encroachment, illegal dumping and mismanagement by the authorities. It’s no secret that we’ve lost over 80% of our precious lakes, undoing centuries of hard work started by the Kempegowdas in the 15th century and continued by the Wodeyars.
Added to this is a festival of Ganesha Chaturthi, a god who is believed to be the harbinger of prosperity and happiness and whose blessings are invoked before any new beginnings. A god like this is unfortunately given a form which does not melt away by greedy idol makers and pandals who compete in “My-Ganesha-is-bigger-than-yours” type of face-offs.
For the last few years Tamaala has been one of those organisations(luckily there are quite few now ) promoting the eco-firendly Ganesha. There is a history to this – the Ganesha was traditionally made from the clay found outside homes and near lakes. But, with modern day living and clay not being as accessible & also to marry some aesthetics and the worship we are promoting the Plant Ganesha. The Ganesha is 70% made from a mold but the balance 30% ( facial features & the snout ) do take at least an hour to handcraft. We have identified potters from around Bangalore – Magadi, Kanakpura, Kengeri, Jigni, Ramanagara( since we don’t seem to be able to find skilled potters in the city anymore ) . They gather clay from the lake beds along the river Cauvery and it’s tributaries. The clay is beaten fine and then mixed for consistency. The basic process itself takes weeks. Once ready then the potters proceed to make the molds and the proceed to finish the idols once it’s dried a bit. They also implant basil seeds into the idols. This is to ensure that even after melting away the Ganesha can take roots and continue to bring prosperity wherever it is immersed.
The idol comes in various sizes and can be pre-ordered. They will be delivered anywhere in Bangalore, though we have a requirement of thousands of such idols in Mumbai & Pune unfortunately we do not have enough potters to service that demand.
The idol melts away in water in a few hours after immersion. hence if for any reason one is unable to visit the lakes to conduct the visarjan, it will be possible to immerse the idols at home and then pour that remnant mixture into pots or in the Kitchen garden. The basil will sprout in about a week’s time.
Lets ring in this Ganesha Chaturthi through renewal and hope and pray for a better future for our coming generations.