Ganpati Bappa Morya… Mangalmurti Morya…
The Lord Ganpati or Ganeshji as he is fondly called by his devout followers, comes to our homes once annually. Lord Ganesha, son of Shiva and Parvati, is the Hindu God of wisdom and prosperity and is traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or new travel.
Today on Ganesh Chaturthi, the Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Ganeshji in His present form with the head of an elephant we take you on an unique photographic journey from the streets of Delhi. Experience virtually the journey undertaken by beautifully decorated and artistic clay Ganesha models made by skilled artisans of Delhi on their way to the ‘Prayer rooms’ of well decorated homes and specially erected temporary tented structures ‘Mandaps and Pandals’ in many areas of Delhi.
Puran Singh who is from Rajasthan, spends almost 5 months in Delhi starting from early-August when he begins making idols of Lord Ganesha and of various Gods like Saraswati, Lakshmi, Vishwakarma. He says that it is the western states of India, Maharashtra and Gujarat where the Ganesh Idols are built in massive sizes going beyond the 70+ feet mark. In Delhi as he tells us, the largest he has seen is 15 feet made by one of his competitors 2 years back. This year his personal best is just a little over 8 feet. But he hopes one day he will also make a 20 footer!!! Only if a Ganesh Puja Committee agency can pay him to do so, he says sadly.
The paste is then poured in rubber moulds which the Idol artists have saved from their previous year’s creations so as to get the structure with finer details of ornaments and postures in which that particular idol will be. Once the idols start drying up, the rubber moulds can be removed and the idol is left to be dried in the sun.
That was the easy part!!
This is followed by another round of drying out the idols in the open sun.
Color coding of the different parts of the Lord’s idol begins as you see on the right-hand picture above, done by the head of artisans, in this case Puran Singh. His family of 10 members is working with him for the past 4 weeks on churning out hundreds of small and big Ganesha idols.
Historical Note: Regular pujas and 10 to 21 days long Ganesh Mahotsav celebrations were started during Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja, the great Maratha ruler. to promote culture and nationalism, the festival was revived by Lokmanya Tilak (a freedom fighter) to spread the message of freedom struggle and to defy the British who had banned public assemblies. The festival gave the Indians a feeling of unity and revived their patriotic spirit and faith. This public festival formed the background for political leaders who delivered speeches to inspire people against the Western rule.
Note: Ganesh Chaturthi and worshipping of the idols at homes and Pandals across the city/country continue for five, seven, or ten days. After 10 days the idols are immersed in water tanks/ sources of water like rivers/ seas. We hope to bring to you how Delhi gives a warm-sendoff to the ‘Lambodar’ also.
Till then cheers and Happy Ganesh Mahotsav.
May Lord Ganesh shower you with success in all your endeavours.