'Fallen' Ganpati idol to rise again this year

Organisers of the Ganesha Tejukaya Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal Trust in Lalbaug are on tenterhooks this year. Their towering 21-feet-high Ganpati idol took a tumble during last year’s immersion procession, leaving many devotees and organisers in despair. To set their minds at rest, they have decided to commission a replica of last year’s idol this year, and give it a proper immersion.

 Rajan Zad, last year
Moulding WITH CARE: The idol (left) that took a tumble last year during the immersion procession

This year’s idol will stand 18 feet tall, in keeping with new guidelines set by the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti.
Sculptor Rajan Zad, who has been making the idol for this mandal for the past 27 years, claims that he has been having sleepless nights since the ‘fall’ last year, and can’t wait to redeem himself by constructing a replica of the same idol this year.

Rajan Zad is sculpting a shorter version
Rajan Zad is sculpting a shorter version of the same idol this year. Pics/Rane Ashish

He has 12 years of experience in crafting towering Ganpati idols. The idol was constructed against a single pole last year, possibly causing it to plummet.

Zad said, “Immersion day last year was one of the most unfortunate days in my life, as the idol I created was not properly immersed. Whenever I make idols I get very attached to them. The design of the idol last year was very dear to me, and so I wanted to make a replica of it this year.

When the mandal asked me to create their mandal this year, I jumped at the opportunity. The only difference is that this idol would be 18 feet high instead of last year’s 21. This year I will take more precautions, and will fix more support to the idol so that there is no chance of accidents.”

The mandal and the residents of Tejukaya area in Lalbaug are also happy with the decision to recreate last year’s idol, as they want to give their lord a proper immersion, which they couldn’t last year due to the fall.

Mangesh Shinde, a member of the mandal, said, “It was decided unanimously by our residents and our mandal to have the same idol this year, standing on the dhol just like last year. We didn’t change the height because we were scared of another fall, but because of the rule set by the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvaya Samiti setting the maximum permissible height for idols at 18 feet.”

The long and the short of it
A new rule implemented this year prevents mandals from constructing idols that surpass a maximum height of 18 feet. The rule has been brought into force by the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), an umbrella body which coordinates with Ganpati festival organisers and the civic authority, along with the Mumbai Murtikar Sangh. Many mandals however have decided to ignore the new rule and have commissioned idols over 20 feet tall, citing tradition. 

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