By Elton Gomes
The wait for Ganpati Bappa is finally over. People around India get ready to chant hymns and decorate their mandals to welcome the Elephant God. The streets resonate with hymns dedicated to Bappa. Amidst the celebrations and festivities, the public also have focused on another thing – maintaining an eco-friendly Ganpati mandal. Many Indians are now aware of the fragile state of the environment, and several mandals are ditching Ganpati idols made of traditional material and are opting for eco-friendly ones instead. Here are some of the mandals who have taken the eco-friendly route this Ganesh Chaturthi.
Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal turns eco-friendly this year
Mumbai’s famous Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal has turned eco-friendly for the first time in 2018. The popular mandal’s theme is save the environment, while the decoration is made of papier mache.
The mandal is witnessing a lot of firsts as art director Nitin Desai has added virtual reality to the décor as an element. Santosh Kambli, the murtikar (artist), has made the idol without a backdrop and a throne, which is another first in 30 years.
“Our aim this year was to highlight conservation of forest and environment. I can proudly say that in 85 years of history of our mandal, this year is going to be historic when it comes to theme,” Balasaheb Kamble, president at the Lalbaugcharaja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, said, Hindustan Times reported.
Mira Road welcomes a hand-made Ganpati
Residents of Shanti Nagar, a housing colony in Mira Road, are getting ready to welcome a four-feet clay idol that is handmade by them. In an attempt to save money and cause less environmental damage, members of Om Shanti Mitra Mandal decided that they will make their own idol with shadu clay.
“When we completed 25 years of celebrations, there were talks that we cannot afford the increasing expenses of the celebration anymore and we should stop getting Ganpatis from the market. However, we didn’t want that to happen because Lokmanya Tilak started this festival to get people together and we didn’t want to cut the cord that bound us,” said Ashwinkumar Patel, a member of the mandal, Hindustan Times reported.
Patel then said that a four-feet Ganpati idol was priced around Rs 8,000, while a Ganpati made of shadu clay was priced at around Rs 35,000 – which is why the mandal finalised on making its own.
Anti-dowry campaign in Mulund
Srinivas Ganesh Utsav Mandal in Mulund is all set to ring in the celebrations while advocating an anti-dowry campaign. Since the past 30 years, the mandal has been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi in an eco-friendly manner, and it now looks to eradicate the menace of dowry.
“For many years we have been celebrating the festival in an eco-friendly manner. We also look up to not leaving the society on the day of immersion and dismantle the products used for making the idol and giving it to people,” said Kalpesh Lodaya, a member of the mandal, DNA reported.
Lodaya added that, similar to every year’s practise, the mandal will not immerse this year’s Ganpati idol. To save on costs, Lodaya said that the mandal used up almost 60 percent of last year’s decoration.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
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