Eco Designs on Ganesha

Eco Designs on Ganesha

In Maharashtra, creative expression is at its peak during Ganpati festival. Such is the enthusiasm that surrounds the Big G’s arrival that year after year, devotees get transformed into artists as they decorate Ganpati’s ten-day habitat in the most beautiful and innovative manner with socially relevant themes. So we have had themes like modern medicine and AIDS awareness, evolution of humankind and the beginning of the Universe and evolution of religion. Pokhran Blasts, Kargil War, KBC, cricket match-fixing and 9/11 were prominently used themes due to their topicality. In the last few years, environment consciousness has also taken centre stage and many people are now putting together Ganesha’s dwelling out of eco-friendly stuff.

Let’s take the example of the Ganpati decoration at Prasad Birjee’s home at Ram Maruti Road, Thane. For two consecutive years, Birjee’s Ganpati decor won awards for the most eco-friendly Ganpati. Birjees have been celebrating Ganpati for the last 70 years, a tradition started by Prasad’s great grandfather.

The prize-winning decorations are put together by Prasad with the help of his family members, especially his mother and wife. Although an engineer by profession, 35-year-old Prasad is extremely creative when it comes to decorating the abode of Lord Ganesha. Prasad got started with this idea of innovative decoration in 1986 when he was made in-charge of decorating the pandal by his sports club Hanuman Vyayamshala, a 75-year old sports club that celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi with vigour. That year he made a miniature model of the Dadoji Kondeo Stadium, which was appreciated by everyone. It was then that he realised that he could be very creative when it came to decorating Ganesh pandals.
What’s impressive is that as a mark of respect for the environment, they stopped immersing their Ganpati idol 14 years ago, when they brought in an idol made out of fibre, and which they now install every year. "As a symbolic farewell, we immerse Beetle leaves and Supaari (Beetle nuts), which are equally revered according to tradition," says Prasad. Now, since the last four years, Prasad uses only paper for decorations. A couple of years ago, he made a banyan tree out of paper, complete with roots hanging out of its trunks. It won him the first prize in "the most eco-friendly Ganpati decoration contest" organised by the Jidnyasa Trust.

Last year, the family spent two full months making more than 200 Hibiscus paper flowers of different colours and six large flower pots, also made of paper. This year the theme is the significance Satyanarayan Puja in Hindu tradition. Lord Ganesha is sitting blissfully in the midst of Banana Trees acting like pillars. Once again, the five-feet-or-so tall banana trees and the big banana leaves have been made entirely out of paper. The rest of the stuff used in decoration is mostly made from items found at home. This makes the decoration not only eco-friendly but also low cost.  

There is no better way to please the Lord than to care for His creation and preserve this environment. Blessed are those who use Ganesh Chaturthi as an opportunity to celebrate the ecosystem we inhabit.

2 Replies to “Eco Designs on Ganesha”

  1. i want to make it different this time…plzz suggest sum ideas about how to decorate the area around the idol of ganpati using eco friendly material.we have a lot of space around it..but just that it should look beautiful and different.

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