Mumbai: For over 20 years, Deepak Gabhane's Ganpati mandal got the Plaster of Paris (PoP) idol. This year, the decision is different. Gabhane and his 64 year old mandal preferred an eco-friendly one to ensure that they are with the mood of the city in moving towards an eco-friendly festival.
"It is a decision we took keeping in mind the environment, dissolving capacity of the idol and that it does not land up on shore the next day. We also wanted to get back to eco-friendly ways," said Gabhane whose Shree Sarvajanik Utsav Mandal at 1st Bhandari Street in Gol Deol, Girgaon, used to have "shadu mati" Ganpati idol for nearly 35 years before switching on to PoP because the maker had grown old and PoP idols were becoming popular.
Bookings for eco-friendly idols have increased this year
His mandal is not the only one to have made the shift even though it leads them to shell out more money as compared to PoP with less shine and brightness. If murtikars are to be believed, the bookings for eco-friendly idols has jumped marginally as compared to last year in both Sarvajanik (public) and Gharguti (household) ones.
"This year the number of Sarvajanik Ganpatis we have made is marginally more as compared to last year," said Rajan Zad, a murtikar. Zad said last year he got bookings for eight while this year he got bookings for 10 Sarvajanik Ganpatis. Zad makes eco-friendly idols of paper and natural gum and only those that are over seven feet tall. "This year I have also sent the idols outside of Mumbai," said Zad.
Tallest eco-friendly idol in Mumbai
In the case of Digambar Mayekar who has made the tallest eco-friendly idol in the city, the numbers at his shop have increased from around 30 to 40. "Sarvajanik have jumped from 30-35 to 40 while household ones have jumped from 25 to 40. For Sarvajanik, we had to turn away many mandals because it takes time to make them. During monsoon season not as much work happens and then towards the fag end it becomes difficult to cope up so we stop taking booking beyond a certain number. Many were turned away this year," said Mayekar.
Mayekar said this time too his mandal will be making a 21 feet tall eco-friendly Ganpati for Vile Parlecha Peshwa, which is now rechristened as Mumbaicha Peshwa. "Our Sarvajanik idols range from three feet that are taken by societies to 21 feet. This year we are using paper and coconut husk besides natural glue. Last year, we used banana instead of coconut husk with paper for binding," informed Mayekar.