For the first time in the 126-year history of sarvajanik (public) Ganeshotsav celebrations, a prominent association will unveil gigantic 'eco-friendly' idol of Lord Ganesha, here next week. The 22x19 feet idol, with Lord Ganesha shown in a gentle, but striking, sitting pose, was commissioned by the Tejukaya Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Trust (TSGT), in the Lalbaug area.
"After a lot of deliberations, we decided to forego the regular inexpensive Plaster of Paris (PoP) idol in favour of an eco-friendly one this year. We expect it to be a trend-setter and shall continue to make only eco-friendly idols henceforth," TSGT Vice-President Ashish C. Rampure told IANS.
The approximately 1.20 tonne idol has been designed and crafted by legendary artist Rajan Zad, known for making huge idols for different organisations across Maharashtra. "Initially, he made a clay mould of the Tejukayacha Raja Ganesh idol and then covered that with papier mâché, a sticky mixture comprising ordinary paper mixed with either flour or glue or water. "Then the idol took shape with several layers of papier mâché to make it a solid structure. It's stone-hard but can easily dissolve in water, barely within an hour," Rampure said.
However, the idol cost went up to Rs 12,00,000, against the normal Rs 400,000 for a regular clay idol of this size. The rise in cost is also attributed to total absence of clay moulds in the market for making eco-friendly Ganesh idols, and the long time taken to dry it, according to Zad. After the idol was dried, it was painted with natural water colours to bring out the magical qualities of the Lord Ganesha.
The idol will be unveiled on Monday, the first day of the 10-day festival of Ganeshotsav across Maharashtra and other parts of India. Another speciality of the TSGT idol is it's 'manually immersed' instead of sliding it of rails in the Arabian Sea off Girgaum Chowpatty on Anant Chaturdashi, the final day of the festival that falls on September 12 this year.
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