Whoever opined that good things come in small packages surely wasn’t referring to the Ganpati idol which will be installed at GSB pandal at King’s Circle this year. This Ganeshotsav, the venue will play host to costliest elephant god’s idol in the city, worth Rs 21.6 crore.
The Ganesh mandal will keep the idol at the pandal for five days during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival that starts on September 9 and lasts for 10 days. The idol will also be adorned with gold weighing 80 kg, which includes two kg of gold that was donated by a devotee to the mandal recently.
The idol is 12 feet tall and is among the most visited mandals in the city. Its hands (four), ears, legs and many other parts have been made of gold. The hands have been carved out of gold thanks to the two kg extra gold received by the mandal this year.
Satish Nayak, committee member of the GSB seva mandal, confirmed that the mandal received a donation of two kg of gold by a devotee, which is being utilised to make the arms of the deity. “The arms are now being moulded in Udupi, Karnataka. This year, the gold on the idol will weigh 80 kg. The arms will be brought in and fixed on to the idol,” he said.
Last year, GSB mandal, the city’s richest, was insured R224 crore. In 2011, it was insured for R222 crore. This year’s insurance is expected to cross last year’s figure, but the mandal hasn’t arrived on a decision yet. “We will conduct a meeting in two-three days and decide on the idol’s insurance,” said Nayak.
At any given point at the GSB mandal, there are no less than 2,000 devotees, either in the pandal or in the queue for the darshan of the elephant god. The pandal not only insures its premises but also the deity’s ornaments, the members and even the crowds visiting the pandal.
Before the idol’s immersion, the pandal takes off its gold ornaments and deposits them in a safe vault to reuse them the year after. Lalbaugcha Raja may be the most-visited Ganesh pandal in the city, but it is the GSB pandal which receives maximum donations during Ganeshotsav every year, gold being the favourite. However, unlike most other major pandals in the city, that house the idol for 10 days, the GSB immerses its idol after five days.