Floral fetish drives this Ganesh mandal | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Floral fetish drives this Ganesh mandal

For the flower sellers at Matunga's flower market, the backdrop for the Ganesh pandal is more important than the five-feet tall idol.

mumbai Updated: Sep 10, 2011 00:36 IST
Reetika Subramanian

For the flower sellers at Matunga's flower market, the backdrop for the Ganesh pandal is more important than the five-feet tall idol.

“To create the backdrop, we use four kilograms of fresh flowers every day, which are contributed by the flower sellers in the market. This is their offering to the deity,” said S Shanmukam, secretary, Matunga Flower Market Association, which has been hosting the celebrations for the past 39 years.

To design the backdrop, craftsmen are specially brought in from Chennai. “No one from Mumbai can weave magic with flowers the way these craftsmen can,” said N Ulaganathan, association treasurer.

This year, the artisans have fashioned snakes, peacocks and elephants out of fresh flowers. “Themes are based purely on our imagination, and not on any mythological tale,” said N Raja, who worked on the decor. “The heavy rain led to stock wastage and delayed our deadlines. However, sellers from the 30 flower stalls in the market helped replenish all the flowers in time,” Shanmukam said.

Rajan is part of the team headed by Chennai-based artist Arohikyanathan, also referred to as Ari. The team planned three backdrops for the pandal using fresh flowers, bamboo sticks and leaves. The Rs3 lakh needed to fund the festivity were raised from sponsors and association members.

“Since the flowers wither and loose their colour within three days, we change the setup on the first, fourth and the eighth day of the festival. We do not reveal the theme in advance even to association members,” said Ari, who has been designing the mandal for the last four years. “Thus, even after the idol sits on its throne on Chaturthi day, we continue working till the very end of the festival,” he added.