A mandal in Fort -- Shree Ashtavinayak Mitra Mandal – took the concept of eco-friendly celebrations to another level. Not only did they keep their decorations eco-friendly, but they also made a 22-ft green idol of the Lord.
The idol, sitting cross-legged on a lotus flower, has been painted using water colour, which easily dissolves in the sea without harming the marine eco-system. “Our idea was to show that you don’t need to use plaster of Paris (PoP) to make 20-ft tall idols. We have replicated the look of the idols placed by Ganesh Galli and Lalbaug mandals in their inaugural year,” said Ravi Shetty, mandal president.
Six hundred A4 size papers were used to mould the bamboo to make the idol. “The process took nearly two months, after which we got 35mm synthetic grass from Kalyan and Koparkhairne. It was stuck on the idol using natural gum,” said Shetty, adding natural grass could not be used owing to inadequate water and sunlight in the pandal.
The idol will be stripped of the artificial grass and the bamboo used to build the frame will be immersed at Girgaum Chowpatty on Thursday. “PoP idols leave deposits on the seabed, which is harmful to marine life. We request all mandals to shift to eco-friendly idols and compete for the best idol in this category next year,” said Shetty.
“For the past five years, this mandal has been making eco-friendly idols with an average height of 20-ft using clay or paper pulp. The concept is fantastic as they are challenging famous mandals to shift to environment-friendly ways of celebrating the festival,” said Sanjay Bhuskute, public relations officer, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.