Mumbai: Check out city's tallest Green Ganesha

Updated: Aug 21, 2019, 08:50 IST | Chetna Yerunkar, Bipin Kokate

Tejukaya Trust breaks the bank to go fully eco-friendly with 19 feet by 19 feet papier mache idol

Mumbai: Check out city's tallest Green Ganesha
Rajan Zaad has created the eco-friendly idol for the Tejukaya Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Trust. Pic/ Bipin Kokate

For all those giving the 'large size' excuse for not being able to make eco-friendly Ganesh idols, Lalbaug's Tejukaya Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Trust has the answer. The 54-year-old Ganesh mandal has gone above and beyond the regular eco-friendly idol height to make a 19x19 feet one this festive season. The immersion route, too, will be changed to accommodate the larger idol. Made of eco-friendly material, including papier mache, it will be one of the city's tallest ones this year, claimed the sculptor.

Mandal representatives claimed that the idols made mainly of paper, like theirs, are rare. Residents of the Tejukaya area, they said, came forward to help the sculptor with it by giving him old newspapers for making the papier mache (made of paper and glue, or paper, flour, and water). "The idea was developed last year in November. We aim to continue with such eco-friendly idols even in the future, too," said Sushant Shinde, president of the trust. It took about seven months to make the idol with a trial and error approach.

Also Read: Ganesh Chaturthi 2019: Mandals in Mumbai vow to go green

The process included building a regular idol first, which the sculptors call a pattern for creating the moulds. The moulds for making eco-friendly idols are not easily available, the makers said.

Rajan Zaad
Rajan Zaad

The idol was then dismantled and the moulds were covered with papier mache which too was made inside the pandal over the last three months as that too is not easily available. This was then covered with layers of brown paper and given a coating of paper crushed material. This was painted using natural water colours.

While the mandal would spend around Rs 4 lakh on their idol every year, this year's eco-friendly idol cost has gone up to Rs 12 lakh, mainly because of the moulds, said a mandal representative and former president Avdhoot Tawde. "The focus was on protecting the environment and having the tallest eco-friendly idol in the city. We have also invited the World Record India to visit the mandal," he said.

Eco friendly
Lights were used to dry the papier mache while making the idol so that it didn’t fall apart. Pic/ Bipin Kokate

Speaking of an interesting mandal tradition, trustee Namdev Hule said, "Irrespective of how big the idol is, we carry it on our shoulders at the immersion procession. We, however, couldn't do so in 1979 and want to make up for it now since this year's idol resembles that of 1979."

Also Read: Over 1,300 Ganpati mandals still await BMC nod

'Cumbersome process'

Creating this wonder has given many sleepless nights to sculptor Rajan Zaad who has made many tall idols in the past but nothing like this. Being a resident of Tejukaya, he also got support from his family members.

"The idol had to be first made for a pattern and then the moulds and then this idol was developed. However, I was worried if the paper-mesh will hold together if does not dry completely. We, therefore, put up a lot of lights on the idol to dry the paper," he explained.

Ganpati makingThe residents too helped the sculptor in giving shape to the idol. Pic/ Bipin Kokate

Zaad, however, was disappointed with the delay in permissions for beginning work on the idols. "Civic authorities keep telling to make eco-friendly idols but they must give me the space and time for it. Paper-mesh can be a substitute but there are not many options in the market. This kind of work is cumbersome and the civic body hardly gives us a month and a half or two at the most to make idols," he added.

New route

The immersion procession route too has been changed to accommodate the new idol. While it would earlier take the Saat Rasta, Mumbai Central, Grant Road to Girgaum Chowpatty route, it will now take the Mahalaxmi Bridge from Saat Rasta, heading to Mahalaxmi Racecourse, Haji Ali and then Girgaum Chowpatty.

Rs 12 lakh
Amount mandal spent on idol this year

54yrs
Age of Tejukaya mandal

Also Read: Mumbai: Basic security training for Ganpati mandals

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