Bhopal: Like all other festivals, religious as well as national, the COVID pandemic has taken a toll on the culmination of the 10-day-long Ganesh Utsav. Every year, Ganesh idols were taken in processions to the immersion sites. This time there would be no procession as idols have not been installed at public places.
Most of the devotees in the city will bid Lord Ganesha adieu from their homes instead of visiting the immersion sites on Anant Chaturdashi on Tuesday.
MG Godbole, vice-president of Maharashtra Mandal told Free Press that every year they used to go to the Hathaikheda Dam to immerse the idol installed by the Mandal at Ganesh Mandir, Piplani. “We used to go in a group and immerse the idol after performing rituals,” he said. However this year they would be doing the immersion in a tank in the backyard of the temple. “Every year our idol used to be at least five-foot-high. We have installed a much smaller idol,” he said.
For the last many years, members of Maharashtra Mandal, Kolar Road used to take the idol installed by them in a procession to Shahpura Lake. The Mandal’s president Poonam Kulkarni said, “This year, we will be immersing the idol in a water tank. As it is a clay idol, it would easily get dissolved in water. The members will take the soil the next day to their homes and put it in flower pots.”
Harshit Tiwari, an artist, said that this time he would perform the immersion ceremony in a steel bucket. “We would fill clean water in the bucket and add Gangajal, rose petals and milk to it,” he said. Tiwari said that he has also appealed to all those whom he had taught making eco-friendly Ganeshas to immerse the idols in the gardens in their homes.
Mahesh Saxena, an author, said that if the Bhopal Municipal Corporation makes arrangements in his locality for immersion of idols, he would use the facility. If not, he would place the idol in a pot, cover it with soil and plant a sapling in it. “Every year, my granddaughter used to cry when we immersed the idol in the lake. Now she would have the satisfaction that Ganeshji would be staying back at our home,” he said.
Neelesh Barode, who works for a private airline, said that he will immerse the idol in a decorated bucket and would plant a sapling in the soil. “This time I am doing it due to Covid but I plan to do the same the next year, too, as this is an eco-friendly way,” he said.
Arijit Rawat, a student of class nine, also plans to immerse the idol at his home and use the soil to grow a plant. “That way, we would save the lake from pollution and would have the satisfaction that Bappa would be staying at our home. He would not be going away,” he said.