Carve your own Ganpati, say NCR residents ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi - Hindustan Times
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Carve your own Ganpati, say NCR residents ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi

By, New Delhi
Aug 28, 2022 03:23 PM IST

Seeing clay dough take shape into an idol of Lord Ganesha is a joy unmatched

Seeing clay dough take shape into an idol of Lord Ganesha is a joy unmatched. It is this emotion that has encouraged many Delhi-NCR residents to make the Ganpati idol at home this year for Ganesh Chaturthi (August 31). Some residents are organising workshops, too, to help others follow suit.

Those into idol-making believe that DIY idols for Ganesh Chaturthi are not only gratifying but also eco-friendly. (Photo: Pratham Gokhale/HT)
Those into idol-making believe that DIY idols for Ganesh Chaturthi are not only gratifying but also eco-friendly. (Photo: Pratham Gokhale/HT)

For Sujatha Kshirsagar, the president of an EdTech firm, Ganeshotsav is a festival that is very close to her heart. The Gurugrammer, who grew up in Mumbai, shares, “Initially, it was about picking the perfect Ganesha [idol] from Mumbai. But for over a decade now, I’ve been making idols myself. Since terracotta clay is closest to mitti (mud), it lends itself beautifully to the detailing I seek. When I start making an idol, I have no form in mind. The hand crafts the murti and shortly, Bappa comes alive!”

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Artist Namita Saxena makes Ganpati idol using Haldi dough.
Artist Namita Saxena makes Ganpati idol using Haldi dough.

Delhi-based artist Namita Saxena says, seeing how more people are warming up to the idea of crafting idols, she decided to conduct workshops. Saxena, who is helping people learn how to make a haldi dough idol, says, “I teach people so that they can make eco-friendly idols with what’s available in their kitchen.”

Bhavisha Buddhadeo, an environmentalist from Delhi, collects unadulterated wet soil from potters and conducts workshops, online and offline, in a bid to spread awareness about the need to go eco-friendly. “I don’t use any harmful colours. I add seeds, like those of flowers while making idols, so that when we attempt the murti’s visarjan, it doesn’t cause water pollution,” she says.

The beauty of Lord Ganesha is that one can easily mould his idol at home with clay, shares artist Anju Kumar, who makes Ganesha every year. Explaining about the process, the Gurugrammer adds, “The pleasure of making and decorating his divine form can be a meditative experience. Get the clay, grind it very finely and sieve it to remove all impurities such as stones. Then knead it in a flour dough kind of consistency, so that one can easily use it to mould the idol. I find shaping the trunk and the round stomach so much fun! Once the form is ready, carve the eyes, nose, lips, fingers with a scalpel or blunt knife. The dhoti and ornaments can be carved while the clay is moist and soft. It can be left it to dry, for few hours, before colouring with acrylic or water paints. All this is eco-friendly and easily dissolves in water after the puja. The whole process of making Ganesha takes about three to four hours excluding the time required to dry it.”

Gurugram-based artist Gurpreet Soni’s idol, representing the nine planets, is made using haldi, ghee, dhaniya seeds and dal.
Gurugram-based artist Gurpreet Soni’s idol, representing the nine planets, is made using haldi, ghee, dhaniya seeds and dal.

Ganesha inspired by nine planets

For some, the less availability of eco-friendly Ganesha options has compelled them to take to making their idols themselves. Take for instance Gurugram-based artist Gurpreet Soni, who has a unique way of making Ganesha. “I chose to create the Ganesha at home because the ones you buy in your local markets are usually made of plaster of paris, which is non-biodegradable and highly unsafe for the environment,” says Soni, adding, “But I also have a unique throught process. I create my Ganesha using the nine planets, to take away all the planetary troubles.To showcase the Sun, I use wheat flower, for Jupiter I use haldi which provides wisdom, Venus provides luxury and for that I use ghee. And to showcase Mangal (Mars), I use lal masoor ki dal. For Rahu, I use kali udad ki dal, and for Ketu I use kaley and safed til. And for Buddh, I used dhaniya (coriander) seeds. Lastly, to represent Shani (Saturn), I use laung! When I arrange for this idol’s visarjan at home, I do it in a flower pot and the dhaniya plant that this arises later is used at home. So there is immense positivity in my house long after Bappa travels back to his abode.”

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