Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are on in full swing. Artists and decorators have unleashed their creativity with unique idols and pandals that will make this year’s festivities memorable.
From holographic idols to those made from chocolate, households as well as mandals have tried their best to make their pandals an attraction for visitors.
For example, this year, the Shahs from Andheri have decorated their pandal at Veera Desai Road after taking inspiration from Italian church architecture (right). “It took close to seven months to make the pandal,” said Hansraj Shah. “Mirror pieces have been coloured and used to cover a part of the ceiling. Every corner of the pandal has LED lights.”
The family said they spent Rs 10 lakh on the decorations. “This is our eighth year of celebrating the festival and our focus has always been on having a grand pandal,” said Shah.
We also take a look at some of the other unique idols and pandals this year.
* Calorie-burning Ganpati
A holographic idol at Health Cha Shree Ganesh Pandal, Growel’s 101 Mall, Kandivli (East) loses weight and transforms into a fitter and healthier version on a daily basis with the help of devotees.
Those visiting the pandal need to work out and donate calories to help the idol reduce its calorie count. The calories lost by the devotees will be tracked through a meter. The devotees have to volunteer to burn close to 50,000 calories during the 11-day event in order to see a fitter avatar of the idol.
* 60 Ganpatis on display in one pandal
Icchapurti Ganesh mandal at Fort has put together 60 different idols — inspired by idols from 42 temples in the country and 18 that are abroad — in one pandal. Celebrating its 60th year, the mandal has displayed idols that are unique in design.
“The idea is to introduce devotees to the many faces of their favourite Bappa under one roof,” said Ravi Surve, organiser. “The idols have been carefully selected whether from our own country or abroad. They have all been made with shadu clay at Kalyan by Sunil Kalyankar after we gave him selected images. The elephant god can be seen in various forms, right from the remover of all obstacles (Avighna), the Lord of all Gods (Ganpati), to the bestower of success (Siddhivinayak),” added Surve.
* Ganpati takes his seat in pandal inspired by Balaji temple
The Datta Raul Maidan Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal has made a pandal that resembles the Venkateshwara temple in Tirupati. The pandal has a swarna stambh similar to the gilded one at Tirupati temple. Within the pandal, a six-foot Tirupati Balaji idol can be seen next to a nine-foot Ganesh idol made from shadu clay.
“Every year, we try to replicate our pandals as religious spots from the country. While celebrating Ganeshotav, devotees get a glimpse and feeling of some of the most famous idols,” said Sanjay Borkar, secretary of the mandal.
* Goddess Durga protects this Ganpati
Lokhikanto Das, resident of Bhayandar (East), has put together a seven-foot idol of Goddess Durga, looking over Ganpati. The idol was made over a span of three months using shadu clay; a similar idol is also on display in Kolkata. The Das family has been celebrating the festival for the past 12 years.
“Durga is omnipresent, and travels with her son, that was the idea behind making the idol. While a close relative of mine built the idol, all the decorations have been done by me,” said Das.
* Ganpati made of chocolate
Rintu Rathod, a resident of Santacruz, has made a 35-kg chocolate Ganpati that stands 38 inches tall. While the idol has been made with chocolate, the decorations such as gold jewellery have been made with sugar and food colours.
The idol will be immersed in around 90 litres of milk on the fifth day of the festival. “The idea is to share the chocolate milk with underprivileged children from across Mumbai,” said Rathod, who took nearly 50 hours to make the idol.