It is Ganeshotsav or Ganpati time in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra and . And depending on how one looks at it, this is a time for holidays, modaks, new beginnings, traffic jams, crowded market places, laddoos, discounts, devotion… For me, it is an explosion of creativity.
From the time Bal Gangadhar Tilak turned the annual family level Ganeshotsav to a community level event in 1893, Lord Ganesha became everyone’s favourite deity. This also meant that, over the decades, the Ganpati idols got more creative with each passing year and the Ganesh pandals became opportunities to highlight social issues, or creative talent in presenting Ganeshas made from ice, different types of grasses or cereals, vegetables, fruits, papier-mache, etc.
It is not just Ganpati Pandals that get creative; shopping malls and departmental stores get into the act too. It was at a well-known departmental store that I saw one of the most unusual and creative Ganpati idols last year.
This Cadbury Gems encrusted Ganpati idol was absolutely eye-catching and the vivid colours just drew the crowds like a magnet. What I liked most about the idol was the idea, of course, the colours chosen, and the eye for detail. Do notice how the gems follow the drape of the dhoti in the 3rd photograph and the mouse with the very realistic looking laddoo.
In fact, so realistic was the laddoo that I was witness to a couple of tantrums by kids who wanted to take the mouse and laddoo home. I didn’t envy the parents one bit
I am yet to go Ganpati Pandal hopping this year and can’t wait to see what is on display this year in Mumbai:-)
Have you seen similar creative depictions of Ganesh idols? I would love to hear more about them.
Mumbai Lens is a photographic series which, as the name suggests, is Mumbai-centric and is an attempt to capture the various moods of the city through my camera lens. You can read more of the posts here.