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Green idols to feed marine life this Ganesh Chathurthi
From making your own Ganesha to offering a range of green versions of Vinayagar idols, Chennai is all set for an eco-friendly Vinayaga Chathurthi this time around.
The festival, which marks the birthday of Lord Ganesha, will be celebrated on September 13. Kutti Ganesan, a member of the team which gets together every year to make the famous green idols at T Nagar, said that the idol will be made of traditional snacks like murukku, thattai and adhirasam this year. “We have been taking the green route for the past 20 years. This year it is going to be made of traditional snacks,” he said. In the past, they have had themes like Ganeshas made of orange mittai (candies), coconuts, Mysorepak, etc. The idea behind Ganesha idols made of food is to feed marine creatures like fish after it’s immersed in water.
The Environmentalist Foundation of India has been advocating a green Vinayaga Chathurthi vigorously. Aravindh Krishnan, a team member of EFI, said, “We wanted to focus on awareness against the use of Plaster of Paris idols by conducting programmes in various locations like schools and colleges. It also highlights the pollution of water bodies caused by the idol immersion.”
Dewakar Chandran, founder, Life and Art Academy, is all set to conduct classes for families on how to make the idols with natural clay. “The idols of 9-10 inches can be made in a couple of hours. The family members who can bond over the sessions and make eco-friendly options. There are no added colours or chemicals,” he said, adding that the classes are being conducted for everyone in the age group of 5 to 50 years.
One also has options like seed Ganesha, mini Ganesha and vetiver Ganesha. Rashmi Sunil, founder of Harith-Tharang, a store that sells products with an emphasis on being environment-friendly, said that seeds are of various varieties. “They can be grown into plants after the festival and many prefer to have these apart from their conventional idols.” Seed Ganeshas are available in various size – from 12 inches to 4 feet. They are made in Karnataka. “People who love natural products choose them over the conventional ones. While more youngsters make this conscious decision for the environment, others are also showing interest recently.”
Bhawanesh Kumar Deora, founder, Swadeshi Mandir, pointed out that it is not easy to change people’s practises. “But recently, there has been an acceptance. The younger age group is making the purchase and social media has a huge bearing on that,” he said.