This year, Mumbai’s Lalbaugcha Raja takes form of Vishnu’s second avatar
The most visited Ganesh mandal of Mumbai, Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal revealed the first look of the idol on Monday. This year, the Ganesha idol has been sculpted to resemble the Korma avatar — the second avatar of Lord Vishnu.
The idol rests a tortoise throne against the backdrop designed Nitin Chandrakant Desai, a famous art director and production designer from Bollywood, of a Gajraj Mahal.
Balasaheb Kamble, president of the mandal, said the this year’s theme was well received by the devotees.
“Bappa looks quite majestic in Korma avatar and devotees who came to take a first glimpse of him today have appreciated the look,” said Kamble.
Asked whether the mandal was aware about what artisan Santosh Kambli had in mind while sculpting the idol, Kamble said the mandal gives the freedom to artisan to use his creativity.
“It is their right to mould the Bappa the way they want. We wouldn’t take away that liberty by giving them instructions. These artistes are expert in their fields, how do we instruct them? Though, it wouldn’t be right to say that we were completely unaware about what was being made because it all happens on our premises,” Kamble said.
Chinchpokli-based Kambli Arts has been making the Lalbaughcha Raja idol since 1935. A third-generation idol-maker, Kambli started working on the idol in June. While he starts on the a month-and-a-half in advance every year, the prabhavali [background of the throne] is though of a month before the festival begins. Kambli has earlier rested the idol on an owl, a mayuraashan and has given it a Vitthal form as well.
Kambli said he receives no instructions from the mandal and focuses on how to highlight a particular aspect of mythology. Last year, he went offbeat with owl, which is considered inauspicious in Hindu mythology. But Kambli said he did it because he wanted to make Bappa sit on Goddess Lakshmi’s vahan.
“This year, the theme is tortoise. It signifies longevity and is the next holiest animal after cow,” said Kambli.