Ganesha is everything

P shekharHe is also trying to build a Pancha Mukha Ganesha temple in the city with an aim to ‘help needy people and solve their problems through Ganesha’

If you have more than 16,845 idols of Ganesha, you are bound to walk into record books! This is what has happened to P. Shekhar, whose lifetime love affair with the idols of the elephant God has earned him a rightful passage into the Guinness Book of World Records for dedicating his life to collecting rare and unique idols of Ganesha.

A bank employee by profession, Mr. Shekhar has varied interests but all related to Ganesha.

When he is not collecting idols, then he is writing a book ‘Vishwa Vinayaka’ that covers Ganesha temples across the world.

He is also trying to build a Pancha Mukha Ganesha Temple in Hyderabad with an aim to ‘help needy people and to solve their problems through Ganesha.’

“I have dedicated my life to collecting the idols of Ganesha. Now, I want to do something to help the public and that’s why I’m trying to build a temple for lord Ganesha. Some of my collection is also from countries like Afghanistan, Indonesia, Germany, Pakistan, Singapore, Ireland, Kenya, etc. The art work of Ganesha idol is well liked and respected everywhere,” says Mr. Shekhar.

Getting recognition from Guinness was not easy, as Mr. Shekhar found himself approaching them repeatedly for close to five years. “I kept contacting them year and after year because I knew this is the largest and unique collection. Finally, they relented and visited my house and inspected all the idols thoroughly,” he recalls proudly.

A gift from parents

The journey of collecting the idols started in 1973 when his parents gave him a gift of Ganesha idol in plaster of Paris during a visit to Shirdi Saibaba temple. Since then, he has made sure to purchase or quite often even make the idols and add to his already huge collection.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer size of his collection. The hall and two bedrooms of his house in West Marredpally are crammed from top to bottom with the idols of Ganesha.

The walls are lined by huge book racks in which, instead of books, Ganesha idols of every size, shape and colour are placed with a lot of care.

His collection is a treasure trove of trivia with each idol having its own unique background story. “I have all the 32 forms of Ganesha statues like Sankathara Ganapati, 12 Raasi Ganapati and Shubdristi Ganesh. Each idol has a story and it would be interesting to read for children and adults alike when we put them up in a museum.”

Apart from idols, Mr. Shekhar also has 18,342 photographs, 1096 posters, 164 books, 178 key chains and 154 audio and video cassettes of Ganesha. To check out his collection, call 6527-4375.

The art work of Ganesha idol is well liked and respected everywhere, – P. Shekhar Bank employee.


Ganesha, an artist’s muse

In the 1800s, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar of Mysore (now Mysuru), a great patron of art and culture, compiled a book containing depictions of gods and goddesses, mythological beings and yoga asanas. The book called the Sritattvanidhi — The Illustrious Treasure of Realities, is aptly named for it truly is a treasure. The treatise is particularly famous for its delineation of the 32 forms of Ganapati, which are given in a section of the book called the Shivanidhi. Each beautiful illustration carries with it a shloka from the Mudgala Purana, a text devoted to Ganesha.

Piety and aesthetics
The book provided a fillip to the Mysore style of painting and served almost to codify the colours, forms and techniques used in this style. Along with depictions of other gods and goddesses shown in the book, these 32 forms of Ganesha also became, and still remain, a popular subject in traditional Mysore paintings.

At the Srikanteshwara Temple in Nanjangud, you can see all 32 forms from the Srititattvanidhi in sculpture form. This temple began as a small shrine in the Ganga period in the 9th century. Over the years, successive rulers added structures to the temple. Now it is one of Karnataka’s largest and most important temples. In the 1800s, Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar renovated and made some additions to the Temple, some of which have become part of the Temple’s claims to fame. The Temple’s spacious courtyard is enclosed by walls that are 12 feet high. All along the top of the wall are brick-and-mortar niches housing beautifully detailed stucco images of gods and goddesses, each with their names inscribed below in Kannada. The niches along the northern wall enshrine the various forms of Ganesha. Seeing the various stucco Ganeshas one after the other — Dhundiganapati, Shaktiganapati, Lakshmiganapati, Rinamochanaganapati and on and on — I felt it was the closest I would ever come to reading Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar’s magnum opus!

Talk about the Wodeyars and the elephant-headed god and one cannot but mention the Atmavilasa Ganapati. Visitors to the Mysore Palace cannot fail to notice this huge idol prominently placed in one of the halls. There is a reason it has been given the pride of place — In 1897, when an accidental fire destroyed the old palace, this idol was one of the few things to remain unscathed by the inferno. This is why when it was placed in the new palace, a special tower was built over it, marking out the Atmavilas Ganapati as particularly sacred. Traditionally, Mysore Dasara celebrations are kicked off with pujas being offered to this deity. R G Singh, of the Mysore-based art foundation Ramsons Kala Pratishthana, informs that the Atmavilas Ganesha is made of mud and was made by artisans from the Chitragar community in Mysore. Interestingly, the idol’s stomach is reputed to be filled with 450 sacred shaligramas.

Another famous Ganapati in Mysuru is the red-hued idol in the Jaganmohan Palace. Made with a frame of bamboo and covered with papier mache and cloth, it is comparable in appearance to the one in the main palace.

Shades of divinity
The large, red-hued Mysore Ganeshas call to mind another famous Ganesha, this time from Gulur, near Tumakuru, famed for its month-long worship of the remover of obstacles. Legend ascribes the beginnings of this tradition to a time when a poor priest in the village sought help from the venerable Sage Agastya to resolve some of the intractable problems in his life. Agastya bade the priest bring some clay from the nearby Gulur Lake and then fashioned an idol of Ganesha from it. Together, they worshipped this idol for 30 days, after which the priest’s difficulties were resolved. And so began the tradition of Ganesha celebrations. The process begins on Ganesha Chaturthi, when clay is brought from the Gulur Lake. Artisans mix the clay with coir and begin work on making the 8-9 feet high idol. The idol is still coloured with natural pigments. Rakesh A Gulur, an engineer, says, “It gives the idol an attractive pinkish-red hue.” The worship of this idol begins on Deepavali day and continues for more than a month, ending in a jatre in December when the idol is taken around in a procession.

Where the Gulur Ganesha is painstakingly and joyously remade every year, another set of very famous Ganesha idols are two that have stood the test of time — the two monolithic Ganeshas fashioned 500 years ago in Hampi. Historians Anna Dallipiccola and Anila Verghese rate the 2.4 m high four-armed Sasivekalu Ganesha as among the best specimens of Vijayanagar sculpture, for its fine carvings on the idol. Though slightly damaged — the trunk and lower left hand are broken — the skill of the unknown artisans who worked on this image is such that the god still projects an endearing persona which does not detract from his numinosity. Nearby is the Kadlekalu Ganesha, more imposing because of its larger height of 4.5 m but less finely finished than the Sasivekalu Ganesha.

India’s earliest sculpture of Ganesha dates to about 1st century AD and was found in Gokarna, according to art historian R H Kulkarni, principal of Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. But, as he points out, early Ganeshas differed from those of today. For example, they were two-armed, did not have a yajnopavita (sacred thread), nor a snake around the belly. One representation from the 6th century that many of us have seen is in Badami, where Ganesha is shown dancing next to his father doing the tandava. There is no snake, nor even the characteristic pot-belly of later depictions, but he does have that lovable charm that we associate with Ganesha.

Today, of course, India’s favourite god graces dashboards in cars, doubles up as pen stands, key chains, earrings, bookends and sundry other items, and is also a collectible item, when he is shown dancing, sitting, standing, reclining, reading, relaxing and more. As R G Singh of Mysuru notes drily, the modern Ganesha seems definitely animation-influenced, “with very large ears and very stylised eyes.” In spite of this, present day idol makers claim that they draw inspiration from traditional designs. Manjunath Hiremath, an idol maker in Dharwad, says that he refers to traditional designs while making idols.

But whatever variations or permutations his depictions take, this elephant-headed bestower of prosperity, this remover of obstacles, this god of auspicious beginnings remains popular across all castes and cults.


Famous Ganpati Temples in India

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi which is celebrated in the honour of lord Ganpati happens to be on September 17 this year. Also known as the Vinayaka Chaturthi, the festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The festivity is a ten-day long extravaganza, which ends on the Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).

Today, we list out the most famous Ganpati temples in India. Even if you are away from your home, you can plan your temple visit after checking out our list of famous Ganesh temples in the country. Here take a look at most famous Gajanana abodes:

Mumbai's Shri Siddhivinayak TempleSiddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai

Perhaps, one of the most famous Ganesh temple in India. We have seen people from all walks of life stand in long queues at wee hours just to get a glimpse of their favourite lord. If you are in Mumbai, don’t forget to pay your obeisance to the lord and take his blessings. The entire Maharashtra is immersed in the Ganpati celebrations during this time, as it is one of the most loved festival of the state.



dodda ganeshanaDodda Ganeshana Gudi, Bangalore

The Dodda Basavana Gudi also known as (the Nandhi Temple) is situated in South Bangalore, Karnataka. The temple is situated inside the a park called Bugle Rock. The temple is known to be the biggest Nandi (bull god, a close lord Shiva) temple in the world. Inside the Nandi temple, there is a Ganpati idol close by. The Nandi image is covered with butter, benne in the local language of Kannada. Dodda Ganesha temple is quite famous amongst the Ganpati lovers.


kanipakam vinayaka Vinayaka Temple, Chittoor

Located in the Kanipakam, Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh. The swayambhu idol of Kanipakam is known as the up-holder of truth (lord Ganesha). It is believed that people if there are any disputes between people, it gets solved after taking a ‘special oath’ in the temple. One needs to take a holy dip in the temple tank and swear before the lord. It is taken as gospel truth, reportedly.



Shrimant Dagdusheth Halwai GanapatiShreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple, Pune

This Ganesh temple sees thousands of pilgrims visit the temple every year. The famous Ganesha temple is also insured for a whopping sum of Rs 10 million.




ucchi pillayarUcchi Pillayar Temple, Rockfort

This Ganpati temple is 7th-century old and is located on top of Rockfort, Trichy in Tamil Nadu. The legend has it that this rock is the place where lord Ganesh ran from KingVibishana, after establishing the Ranganathaswamy deity in Srirangam.



idagunjiShree Vinayaka Devaru Temple, Idagunji

It is located on the West Coast of India in the Idagunji town in Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka. It is reported that as many a million devotees pay their obeisance to the lord every year. It is one of the six famous Ganesha temples on the west Coast of India, often called the ‘Ganesha Coast’.



karpaga vinayakarKarpaga Vinayakar Temple, Pillaiyarpatti

This temple is situated in Thiruppatthur at Sivaganga district in Tamil Nadu. Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated for 10 days in a full festive mood. Many devotees participate in the famous Car Festival as well.


Ranthambore Ganesh templeRanthambhore Ganesh ji, Rajasthan

On the top of the historic Ranthambhore fort which is about 1000 years old is a Trinetra Ganesha temple. The three-eyed god in is orange in colour and is one of the major tourist attractions.






This temple is situated in Puducherry and is one of the major tourist attractions. The temple is of considerable antiquity and predates French occupation of the territory.




madhur maha ganpathiMadhur Maha Ganapathi Temple, Kasaragod, Kerala

Interestingly, this was initially a Shiva temple, but according to an old legend the Ganpati statue was drawn by a priest’s son, a small Brahmin boy, on the walls of the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) while playing. What followed was that the statue of Ganesh became huge and and fat which each passing day. Therefore, the boy called Ganpati as ‘boddajja’ or ‘bodda ganesha’.

sasive kaluSasive Kalu & Kadale kalu Ganeshas, Hampi, Karnataka

The legend has it that one day Lord Ganesha ate so much that his tummy was on the verge of bursting, therefore Ganpati tied a snake around his waist. In the temple idol at Hampi, we can see the snake tied around the lord’s tummy. There is also an image of a woman as if she is strapped to Ganesha’s back. It is believed to be symbolizing goddess Parvati as the eternal protector of her son.


ganesh tokGanesh Tok, Gangtok, Sikkim

Ganesh Tok is situated 7 kms away from Gangtok-Nathula Road. At about 6,500 ft on a hill near the TV tower. The scenic beauty of the place is such that you can take a complete city view from the Ganesh Tok temple.




moti doongriMoti Doongri Ganesh Temple, Jaipur

This temple is situated in Jaipur. The temple area is perched on a small hill, and is surrounded by an exotic palace. It was built in the early 18th century by Seth Jai Ram Paliwal. It is also one of the major tourist attractions of the pink city.



khade ganeshjiMandai Ganapati, Pune

Mandai’s Ganesh Mandal is also known as the Akhil Mandai Ganapati. This is one of the most important Ganesh Mandals in Pune. People throng the Mandal during Ganpati festival.



khade ganeshjiKhade Ganeshji, Kota

This Ganesha temple in Kota, Rajasthan is unique for the idol can be seen standing straight and also for its wish giving and fulfilling powers.





ganpatipuleSwayambhu Ganapati, Ganapatipule

This temple is located on a beautiful beach in Maharashtra. The lord which resides here is is also known as Paschim Dwar Devata, or the sentinel at western gate.




ganpatyar_ganeshGanpatyar temple, Srinagar

The ancient Ganesh temple in Srinagar, Kashmir is known to all as Ganpatyar. It is situated here Habba Kadal, and beautiful river Jhelum can be seen flowing smoothly from the temple view point.





shri-subha-siddhi-vinayakaShri Subha Siddhi Vinayaka Mandir, New Delhi

This beautiful Ganesh temple is located in Mayur Vihar Phase-, New Delhi. It is one of the most famous Ganesh temples in the country, as people from all walks of life come and visit it throughout the year.




karunyaKarunya Mahaganapathi Temple, New Delhi

This famous Gajanana temple is situated in Mayur Vihar Phase-II, New Delhi. The temple is huge and beautifully constructed in typical South Indian interiors. Devotees throng the premises for daily darshan of the lord.

5 mandals in Mumbai that you should visit this Ganesh Chaturthi

The 10-day-long Ganeshotsav or Ganesh festival is the best time of the year to be in Mumbai and experience the zest and fervour of the Mumbaikars. This festival is a reflection of the unity and energy this city has. People of all faiths come together to celebrate the birthday of their favourite lord. And while you do Pandal-hopping during these 10 days, you can’t miss these 5 mandals.

1. Lalbaugcha Raja

lalbaugcha raja2015

Lalbaughcha Raja is the oldest known Pandal in Mumbai. The idol is a visual spectacle with all its grandeur. Every year, the mandal comes up with different themes. And it attracts the maximum crowd. This is the 81st year of Lalbaugcha Raja.

2. Girgaoncha Raja

girgaoncha raja

Located in Girgaon, Girgaoncha Raja is the tallest among all the idols of Lord Ganesha in the city. It is the only eco-friendly Ganpati. Unlike the other idols, which are made of Plaster of Paris, Girgaoncha Raja is made with Shadu clay, which is especially imported from West Bengal. This is the same clay which is used in making idols of goddess Durga.

3. Andhericha Raja


Andhericha Raja is famous for his spectacular themes which bemuses the devotees of Lord Ganesh every year. Over the years, they have replicated temples themes like the Akshardham, Somnath, Mangueshi, Saras Baug and many more. It would be interesting so see what they come up with this year.

4. GSB Seva Mandal


Located in Wadala, the idol is made to sit on a 22 carat gold-plated throne and embellished with precious jewels. This is the riches idol in the city and its opulence leaves you in awe.

5. Khetwadicha Raja

khetwadicha raja

It holds the record of making the tallest Ganesh idol in Maharashtra. With each passing year, the makers increase the height of the idol.

From a selfie-taking Ganesha to a Baahubali Ganpati: Here’s why this Ganesh Chaturthi will be interesting

The lord of the new beginnings will soon arrive with much grandeur and fanfare and this time he will don every possible contemporary theme. As the country prepares to get into the mood to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, the streets are abuzz with the different types of idols that you might see this season.

From Mumbai’s iconic Lalbaugcha Raja statue to the tallest-ever Ganesh statue being made in Vijayawada, the frenzy in the country over the festival is making sure that there are Ganesh idols and statues of all kinds. In the past, we have already seen World Cup Ganesha, Anna Hazare Ganesha and even the travel Ganesha. But when we say all kinds, we include those which you have never imagined before.

Here are some of the most unique Ganesh idols which will make this Ganesh Chaturthi innovative:

selfie ganesh

If there is one picture to explain the meaning of the word ‘frenzy’, it is this picture. You know that the country’s obsession with selfies has gone a tad bit too far when you find people making idols of Lord Ganesh taking a selfie of him with his family members. Don’t be surprised tomorrow if you suddenly come across a Ganesh statue in which the God is making a duck-face.


SS Rajamouli’s blockbuster multi-lingual film Baahubali reportedly collected Rs 500 crore in the three weeks since its release on 10 July, according to sources in the film unit. However, that is just a number. Perhaps the real proof of the massive success of Baahubali actually is this picture, which shows a statue of Lord Ganesh as the Baahubali. Films have always been an important part of India. But nothing proves it as much as this image.

pensil ganesha

Size does matter. The Dundee Ganesha Seva Samiti (DGSS) might be aiming to make the tallest Ganesh statue ever. However, as challenging as it would be to create a statue that massive, it would be equally challenging to make a Ganesh idol out of the lead tip of a pencil. Yet, this miniature idol of Lord Ganesh shows that good things can indeed also come in small packages.


Many people are concerned about the adverse effects to the environment caused during immersion of the Ganesh idols.

And those people are not afraid to create their own unique statues to get attention for their cause. For example, Digambar Manikar and his son Rajesh have made a 22-foot Ganesh idol weighing 150 kg using nothing but 30,000 tissue papers to show the importance of eco-friendly idols, according to Hindustan Times.

We certainly hope these idols become more popular and raise awareness about the environment among people.


Mumbaicha Raja – Ganesh Galli 2015

ganesh galli2


ganesh galli3


ganesh galli1

Traditions observed in preparation of Ganesh Chaturthi

Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues

Goa: Hindus in Goa are getting ready to celebrate the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in the coming week. It is not only the days of the festival that are important, but the month long preparations for the household are important as well, especially for the women who have to perform different rituals.

Many people observe fasts and abstinence with religious dedication during the month of Shravan, which is considered the most religious month of the Hindu calendar. Some only consume ‘shivrak’ (vegetarian) food for the entire month and break the abstinence after Chaturti. Many traditions are observed especially by married women, who are known as ‘savashini’. Shravan is followed by the month of Bhadrapad in which Ganesh Chaturti is celebrated.

There are many religious ceremonies observed during Bhadrapad. Each day of the week is dedicated for a deity. On Monday, it is the day Lord Mahadev is revered. On these days, women after the morning bath perform a pooja to Lord Mahadev and the nevaidya offered is a chapatti mixed with jaggery. After cooking the chapatti, it is shredded into small pieces and mixed with jaggery and offered.

Tuesday is devoted to Ganapati and after the pooja the nevaidya offered is Ganapati’s favourite – the modak, with a filling of coconut and sugar mixture. Thursday is Lord Vishnu’s day. For some years now, the devotion to Sai Baba of Sirdi has gained momentum in Goa, with a number of temples built in his honour and many people revere Sai Baba on this day.

Friday is dedicated to Laxmi, with a pooja performed for her, followed by the distribution of grams. Some women venerate Laxmi with a divli pooja. They adorn the divli with flowers and light. Women also visit each other’s houses and put kukum on their forehead.

Saturday is for Maruti and nevaidya of sunt (dry ginger) mixed with sugar is offered. When the women visit the temple of Maruti, they bathe the idol with oil and sindur is applied.

Sunday is dedicated to the sun who gives us energy and life. Sundays are reserved for special poojas performed by women, like poojas for the wellbeing of their husbands. On each Sunday of the Bhadrapad month, a special sweet dish is prepared. On the first Sunday ‘mutli’ is prepared. The paste of ground soaked rice is moulded into balls in which a mixture of coconut and jaggery is filled. And these are boiled in water. Sonali Alornekar from Ecoxim, Bardez tells us that mutlis are synonymous with keeping a fast, as the saying in Konkani goes: mutlin dovorlo, upas dovorlo.

On the second Sunday, patolyos are prepared. The next Sunday is a day for khichdi that is prepared by boiling together rice and mung and adding coconut and jaggery. And on the fourth Sunday ‘pole’ is prepared from soaked rice and urad dal ground together with coconut and sweetened with jaggery and fried. In case there is a fifth Sunday, then ‘tavsali’ or any other sweet is prepared on the fourth Sunday, and pole on the fifth Sunday. Tavsali is made with overripe grated cucumber, cooked with ground coconut, jaggery and coarsely pounded rice till done. The mixture should be without liquid. It is put in a container and baked in the oven or with live coals.

The festival is related to the environment and therefore various plants, leaves and fruits available during the monsoon are used in the pooja. Sandhya Verlekar from Curca tells us how she performs her Sunday pooja. After having the mandatory bath, she prepares her pooja by decorating aalu (colocasia) leaf on the path (wooden seat). On this leaf she draws an image of sun to the left and the moon to the right either with rangoli paste or lime (chuno) paste. Then she spreads rice on the leaf and decorates it further with different leaves and flowers.  A tambiyo (copper tumbler) with water (covered with beetle leaf and arecanut) is placed on this leaf of aalu. On either side of the leaf, two cones made out of leaves are kept. Every Sunday different kind of leaves are used to make the cones. The following sequence is followed from the first Sunday: leaves of turmeric, banana, parijata (coral jasmine) and peepal. All this represents biodiversity and in turn worship of nature.

In the evening, she takes the decorated path out, near the tulsi vrundavan and buries some of the items under the tulsi plants and she throws the remaining on the roof and seeks blessing of the Sun.

According to Sudha Karmalkar from Carambolim, the manner in which the poojas are performed depends on the community to which they belong. She also adds that many women have now simplified the rituals as they live in nuclear families. When joint families were the tradition there was more rigidity in the observations of the rituals.

Rolling out: Ganesh idol made of 30K tissue papers in Mumbai

With Ganeshotsav round the corner, Mumbaiites are set to unveil their eco-friendly Ganesh idols across Mumbai.

Giving eco-friendliness a unique touch, Digambar Manikar and his son, Rajesh, have made a one-of-its-kind 22-foot idol weighing 150kg using 30,000 tissue papers at Vile Parle (East). The idol, which is stands tall on bamboo sticks, costs Rs 80,000.

The father-son duo has been making eco-friendly idols since 2008. This year, they have trained children between 12 and 18 years from Vile Parlecha Peshwa Bal Gopal Mitra Mandal to create eight idols made using tissue paper – ranging from 6ft to 22ft high – to be unveiled on September 17 at Vile Parle, Jogeshwari, Shastri Nagar, Andheri and Santacruz.

tissue ganesh1

The Ganesh idol made of tissue paper at Vile Parle

“We put together a 22-foot layout of bamboo sticks stuck together using natural gum. We then mixed a large mould of tissue papers and newspapers to be placed on the bamboo sticks with a little water. Within three months, the idol’s impression was ready,” said Rajesh Manikar.

“The idol takes about five minutes to dissolve in water. The bamboo sticks will be taken out after the immersion at Juhu,” said one of the mandal’s members.

Among the other eco-friendly idols is a 25-foot Ganesh idol made of fibre, which will be made at the Kranti Sarvajanik Mandal shed and installed at Kol Dongri, Andheri (East). “Next year, the same idol will be modified using different colours, designs and shapes. The idea is to reduce the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP), protect the environment and use our resources to the maximum,” said Abhishek Vyas, treasurer of the mandal.

A fibre idol is a one-time investment and costs around Rs 5 lakh, while making clay idols, which is an every year affair, costs at least Rs 2 lakh.

An idol of fibre at Andheri (East)

An idol of fibre at Andheri (East)

Andheri siblings Rohit Vaste, 35, Sushil, 34, and Pranay, 30, have chosen to drfit away from the clay and PoP idols’ concept and adopt a novel idea — making idols using papier mache, which is a mixture of paper and glue, or paper and flour with water that hardens on getting dry. The Vaste siblings have for the first time made more than 100 idols from papier mache.

“Papier mache idols dissolve in flowing water within one-and-a-half-hour and in still water within three hours. Clay idols take more time and harm the aquatic environment,” said Rohit Vaste, adding these idols weigh only one-and-a-half kg and cost Rs 5,500.”

Their interest in making idols wanes

New generation of Kulalar families has taken up other professions

Vinayakar clay idols ready for chaturthi festival at Kosapettai in Vellore

Vinayakar clay idols ready for chaturthi festival at Kosapettai in Vellore

The Vinayaka Chathurthi festival falling on September 17 provides an occasion for a family reunion among the members of the ‘Kulalar’ families who are traditionally in the business of making pots, Vinayaka idols for the festival and other idols for the Navarathri festival.

For several generations, the ‘Kulalars’ (the potters’ community) have been engaged in the profession which was their sole bread-winner. But in the last two decades, there has been a decline in the number of persons engaged in the business owing to the aging of the elders and their inability to do the job, and the disinterest among the next generation in continuing the profession. Many of the children of the traditional potters have got educated as teachers, engineers, doctors and IT professionals and have taken up jobs in other parts of the state and other states in India. Many have also gone abroad. Come Vinayaka Chathurthi, the members of the families would visit their native homes and assist the elders in giving finishing touches to the Vinayaka idols.

Senthilkumar, son of Mohan (55), a potter in Choolaimedu who is now studying 10th standard, was seen stamping on wet clay to prepare it for moulding Vinayaka idols in front of his house. Mohan’s another son Thulasiraman (24) is a B.Com. graduate and is looking for better pastures.

“My sons help me only on the eve of Vinayaka Chathurthi. The business is losing its sheen because of the declining interest among the younger generation in doing the job”, he said.

A. Dinakaran, who works for a religious organization, was making idols alone in his house in Kosapet as his mother who used to help him has gone to Dubai to be with her second son. His son, studying in an engineering college in Coimbatore, is not interested in taking up the profession, he said. He would come on the morning of September 17 and help him in giving finishing touches to the idols and selling them, he added.

“My uncle R. Chinnadurai, who is a retired headmaster residing in Ranipet, has promised to come on Wednesday night to help me. But my cousin who is a government doctor in Chennai, who used to come here in advance till two years ago is not coming now because of his professional preoccupation,” he said. A problem which the potters encountered this year was the intense heat which causes cracks in the idols, necessitating touch-up. Besides, the price of mud which the potters used to get from irrigation tanks has shot up from Rs.3,000 per lorry load to Rs.4,500.

A salient feature of the business is that the potters have taken to electric wheels to mould the three parts of the Vinayaka idol—the base, the body and the head.

Poompuhar hosts Vinayaka idols

Vinayaka idols in various shapes and sizes are on display at Poompuhar showroom in Tiruchi.

Vinayaka idols in various shapes and sizes are on display at Poompuhar showroom in Tiruchi.

The versatility of the much adored elephant god is evident from different models of the idols of the Lord displayed at Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (Poompuhar) showroom in the city.

Apart from serious models such as “Narthana Ganapathy”, “Raja Ganapathy”, and “Valampuri Vinayakar”, the showroom has displayed new models such as “Cricket Ganapathy”, and “Oonjal Ganapathy”.

“We have brought the idols from Tiruvanaikovil, Thanjavur, and Puducherry,” says R. Gangadevi, manager of Poompuhar. There has been a scramble for the Valampuri Vinayakar idols and hence a large number of this model made of different material — stones, brass, and sandalwood, panchaloha, brass and alloy metal, has been stocked. The “Cricket Vinayagar” is a set of Lord Ganapathy in seven forms. It is priced at Rs. 2,500.

The exhibition which is on will be open from 10 a.m. till September 19.

A special rebate of 10 per cent would be available for purchases made during the special exhibition.