Deities dazzle in Navratri gold rush

Less than a month ago, Mumbaikars liberally showered their love, affection and wealth on Ganpati. But the reservoirs are far from empty.

That’s apparent once you do the rounds of the Navratri and Durga Puja pandals in the city. In spite of the prohibitive prices of gold and silver, most idols of gods and goddesses are wreathed with the precious metals.

In all her splendour: The Goddess at the Natraj Navratri Utsav Mandal in Byculla, which is celebrating its platinum jubilee this year. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

The race that was on between various Ganpati mandals to popularise their idols and attract more crowds has caught on with Navratri organisers.

Till a few years ago Navratri mandals were mostly preoccupied with organising the Dandiya Raas. But with a deadline being imposed, they have now started taking more interest in embellishing the pandals.

The venues, which were earlier done up by mandal members are today designed by art directors. The Durga Puja pandals too are replete with the traditional touch of Bengal.

The funds involved are also very high as all the Durga Puja organisers offer bhog (prasad) to the devotees for three days. Kolkata artisans usually sculpt the idols and gold is charitably used in the process.

Divine glory
Swapnil Parab, secretary of the Lalbaug Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal, one of the famed Navratri organisers in the city, said, “We have about two kilograms of gold on our idol apart from four to five kilograms of silver donated by several devotees, as many firmly believe the goddess grants all your wishes.”

Sanjay Naik, president of Natraj Navratri Utsav Mandal in Byculla, said, “We have prepared a 5-ft-long silver necklace plated with 250 grams of gold, as this is our platinum jubilee celebration. We have about 750 grams of gold altogether on our idol.”

The spokesperson of Bengal Club Puja Committee at Dadar said, “Our idols are decked with real gold, but it has been our club’s policy to not weigh the gold because it belongs to Durga Maa and we do not want to commercialise the sentiments of devotees who have donated the valuables to the Goddess.” 

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