The festival of Ganesh is hardly a fortnight away and one can see the Sarvajanik mandals beginning on the work of their Ganesh Pandals in the various parts of the city. The house hold folk are also getting ready to bring home their favorite Ganesha by cleaning, painting the house etc. The use of plaster of paris, thermo-coal and the use of unnatural colors is harming the environment to a great extent. No doubt the idols made of POP look more attractive and are light but the harm they cause to environment is beyond compare.
With the extensive use of natural substances the nature loves of Belgaum have extended their efforts in preparing strong, light weight and eco-friendly Ganesha idols. With these idols the question of pollution can be solved, but this needs the efforts of all.
In order to create awareness, Sadguru Shri Aniruddha Adesh Phatak has taken various steps by preparing eco-friendly Ganesh idols and avoiding any harm to the environment to a very large extent. As of today Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur, Belgaum and around 27 other centers have undertaken the responsibility and are preparing eco-friendly Ganesh idols.
In Belgaum, Sadguru Shri Aniruddha Upasana Kendra has been established and for the past four years they have been preparing eco-friendly Ganesh idols. This work is spearheaded by Poonamveera Lengade and Ranjanaveera Lengade and other active volunteers who support are Pramodsinh Belgundi, Ashoksinh Pawar, Vinayaksinh Aravalli, Anusuyaveera Rammanavar ,Sonaliveera Patil, Anilsinh Hawaldar, Vidyaveera Hawaldar, Pandurangsinh Gumaste, Shridharsinh Gumasteto name a few. A notable fact here is, all the people make the idols out of their own interest by taking out time from their regular work, and making idols is not their profession. But still the idols they make look so enchanting and worshipful. The response to these idols in the beginning was very poor but since the awareness about eco friendly idols has increased they now have a good demand.
Procedure to prepare eco-friendly Ganesh idols is very simple and everybody can make them. The Shrimurti is prepared from paper and the paper used is also of a particular type. The paper used is from the ” Ram naam Books “. In these books the devotees write “ram” on the pages and the books are submitted to the Upasana Kendra.
300 gm. of this paper pulp with 700 gm. of whiting powder (80% calcium carbonate and 20% marble powder) are mixed along with 150ml edible gum and dough is prepared. This dough is filled in the mold. For the idol to be dried it takes around 8 to 10 hours, where as if halogen or filament bulb is used to dry them it takes 3 to 4 hours to dry them. After these shrimurti’s are dried, they are painted with food colors. As one can notice the ingredients used are all edible and hence totally eco-friendly. This idol dissolves within 2 hours in water and it can be useful as food for the aquatic creatures.
The idols prepared here are in sizes of 1 feet to 2 1/2 feet, and the cost ranges from Rs.300/- to Rs.1100/-.