For hotelier Vithal Kamat, every day is a Ganesh Chaturthi.
With 6,000 Ganesh idols in his Churchgate apartment, it’s Ganpati festival every day of the year.
A big sculpted elephant god greets you as you enter the house. It was a gift about 37 years ago. “This ensures me that the Lord is guarding my house from dangers,” said Kamat, managing director of Hotel Orchid at Vile Parle.
His penchant for collecting Ganesh idols started 40 years ago. Initially, his collection was a sparse one and gradually he continued adding Ganesh idols in all shapes and sizes.
Once his friends and associates came to know about his liking, they started gifting him Ganesh idols.
“Even my wife and children started looking for unique idols to add to my collection,” said Kamat.
Every nook and corner of his apartment adorns Ganesh idols. His cupboards are filled with idols and there is not a single space in his house that doesn’t have a Ganesh idol.
“And every idol holds a memory that is close to my heart,” said Kamat.
Among the array of idols, one of his favorites is made of scrap iron. “The idol was made by my employee during the construction of Orchid hotel,” Kamat recollects.
Another idol which has a special place in his house and heart is made by Kamat’s employee, who is mentally challenged.
“I try to keep it in front of my eyes all the time,” he said.
His collection of idols are made of 90 materials — including beatles, stones, clay, iron, brass, paper, scrap, wood, marble and paper pulp.
His collection includes a Ganesh idol made of marble by sculptor B Vithal and ‘Ganpatichi Shala’ showing the god teaching his mice disciples.
Kamat considers his collection of Ganesh idols to be the guiding factor for his successful hotel business. “When I return home to see idols of all shapes and sizes waiting to bless me, it gives me a sense of responsibility and instills in me the creativity and depth required to manage my business,” he said.
For the hotielier, Ganesh is just not a symbol of prosperity. It is also the channel to connect with people.
“People who know me talk to me about my collection first and then we get on to the point. For me, it is a easy way to start a conversation with anyone,” Kamat said. And the massive Ganesh collection will not stop here.
“I will continue looking for more rare Ganesh idols everywhere I go,” Kamat said.