Ganesha (Gah-neh-sha), also known as Ganapati, is an elephant-headed deity in the Hindu pantheon that is believed to remove obstacles and bring good fortune. Ganesha Chaturthi (Chah-tur-ti) is an important Hindu festival in the state of Maharashtra where Ganesha idols are worshiped for 10 days and at the end, they are immersed in a body of water. (Mumbai is in Maharashtra.) Ganesha Chaturthi date is decided based on the moon cycle and usually falls between August and September. This year, 2015, Ganesha Chaturthi is on September 17.
Importance of Eco-Friendly Ganesha
The reason for immersing Ganesh idols is that Hindus recognize that the universe is in a constant state of change. Form is not permanent. It eventually transform into formlessness. Thus, the act of immersion of Ganesha idols is a symbolic reminder of this belief.
Ganeshas statues to worship Ganesha during Ganesha Chaturthi are made of various materials such as clay, wood and/or plaster of paris. Unfortunately, it has been noticed that when Ganesh idols made of plaster of paris are immersed in water, the material as well as the chemical in the paints increase the acidity of the water and thus, cause great harm to the quality of water and the ecosystem.
As a result the movement of eco-friendly Ganesha to be worshipped and immersed in the water has started and it has gained a popularity in Mumbai in the recent past.
Eco-Friendly Ganesh Making
My family and I had a wonderful opportunity to participate in a workshop done by Aniruddha to experience eco-friendly Ganesha making using kneaded paper pulp. It was interesting to see the process of making a statue and fun for the kids to play with eco-friendly paper pulp. I hope that our kids will always remember this cultural experience.
It’s been very interesting taking photos of my son especially when I am struggling to manually focus with my 35 mm lens. The blurriness of the photos shows that I need more practicing to do with a silly subject that would not stay still even for a second. As a result, I am showcasing a monkey who was out of control.
We bought an eco-friendly Ganesha from the NGO Aniruddha to show our support for their great cause and efforts to protect the environment.
You can find places to buy eco-friendly Ganesh idols on Go Green Ganesha Facebook information page.
OTHER POST ABOUT GANESHA
Ganesha Tour in Khetwadi