RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT BUZZ
From the thought of buying to finally making a purchase, the process is not as easy as it seems. A lot of prior research, weighing the pros and cons, the monies involved factor in while making this choice. Also, when the choice has a religious significance, aspects like workmanship, family beliefs also play a major role as it goes beyond the ‘worth the money’ tag. With Chaturthi around the corner, finding the perfect Ganesha idol to bring home is a very important decision for many families in the state. Here are the important criteria when it comes to buying the all-important statue:
Made from the earth
There are many things that need to be taken into consideration while buying a Ganesha idol, and material tops the list. Over the past couple years with the ban on PoP idols, people resort to investing in eco-friendly Ganesha idols purely made of mud.
Margao-based, Divya Kerkar says she was never in favour of PoP. “Idols made from Plaster of Paris (PoP) don’t get immersed properly,” she adds. Shrinivas Joshi from Mapusa also ensures that clay idols are 100 per cent environment friendly.
While Navdeep Aguiar from Verem tells us that the new trend is of Shadu Clay Ganesha idols which are lightweight. Some families still prefer Ganesha idols made of comparatively heavier red clay.
Shape and size matters
The shape and size of the Ganesha idols is another aspect that has to be decided upon, with each family having their own reasons. Some people don’t really alter the shape and size every year and stick to the tradition followed by their ancestors. They also have to keep the size of ‘makhar’ they use in consideration. It is also believed that the size of Ganesha idol every year should be the same or little bigger but cannot be smaller than the previous one. Generally, people resort for an ideal size of a two foot idol, but there are others who opt for bigger ones that range from two feet to five feet.
Navdeep says that more the height of the idol, the heavier it is to carry, keeping in mind the ratio of its width. “It should be of an appropriate size that fits on the platform (‘makhar’) where the Ganesha idol is placed to be worshipped at home,” he says.
The appearance is another factor that holds prime importance; thus checking if the finish is proper and no part of idol is broken. Utpal Arolkar from Margao says: “We see that the idol is small, because it’s easier to carry and hold if there is no one strong enough to help during the Ganesha visarjan (immersion).”
The idols are brought from local idol makers or a family that specialises in the idol making for several generations, sometimes, thus following a tradition. “Earlier, local artisans would to make idols at home and a few still continue the tradition. We need to order our idol one month prior to the festival to avoid any delays,” says Nagesh Ozarkar Shetye from Vasco.
A resident of Vasco, Tejas Pandit makes sure that the Ganesha idol is sitting relaxed on a well decorated throne, as they always offer the best comfortable position for the guest. He makes sure that the idol’s eyes are properly done as it should look life-like and he further ensures that the Mushak (mouse) is also at his side.
Nilangi Netravalkar from Panaji believes that Ganesha in a sitting position brings good luck and success. The standing idol brings energy and enthusiasm. Mapusa-based Nitisha Joshi believes that for homes, the idol should be in the sitting position as if Lord Ganesha is permanently planting himself in your domain.
For Chaitali Karekar, Porvorim the Ganesha idol has to have large ears to hear more and a small mouth to talk less. “The Abhayamudra of his lower right hand symbolises Ganesha’s blessings and upper right hand holds an axe to cut off all evil,” she says.
About Ganapati’s trunk
There are some in the family who apply so much thought, that they actually sit and pre-plan the look of the idol. The idol maker then customises the idol as per their wants.
About what an ideal Ganesha idol should be like, Shweta Nagde from Parra says that it should have a tusk on the left side with bright eyes and the attire should be of vivid colours. There has to be a modak in one hand and a hibiscus flower in the other. Also there has to be Lord Ganesha’s vehicle (the mushak) at the bottom. There are families that like their Lord to be decked up with bigger accessories including the mukut and other ornaments like a necklace.
Bhasker Bhandare from Margao says that an idol with the left sided trunk is preferred because it is considered Shubh (good omen) for the family.
He adds: “Worshiping Ganesha idols with right sided trunk are generally not preferred because the rituals should be adhered to, and any mistake is considered harmful for the family.”
Chaitali says that statues with trunks on the left side are believed to represent Ida Nadi (one of the energy currents in the spine responsible for basic bodily function) – the cooling side or ‘lunar’ energy and is more feminine, calming, and nourishing.
Nilangi informs that Lord Ganesha with trunk tilted towards his right hand is difficult to please because it represents the power of the sun that can burn if strict rules are not adhered to. She says: “One should also make sure that the idol is fat and happy. Remember that the mouse, modak and matoli should be a part of the statue. The mouse represents material desire but should never disturb inner peace. Sweets and matoli represents not getting distracted by pleasure hence they are left untouched.”
According to Nitisha if you want to keep the Ganesha idol in the home for material prosperity, then the trunk should be touching or close to the ‘laddu’ (his favorite sweets in his bowl); it represents that Ganesha is having his favorite food in his hand and will offer the prasad (blessed food) to his devotees. “Here the laddu represents material gain and prosperity,” she adds.
Price is an important factor to be kept in mind while buying any product, but in this case people do not think too much about it, as they do it all for their ‘Bappa’. Some buy according to their budget and others buy the idol of the same size and shape as followed by family tradition.
Navdeep says: “There are very few people who might consider an idol in terms of price. The idols at the Goa Handicrafts Rural & Small Scale Industries Development Corporation in Mala, Panaji I think are reasonably priced.”
Even for Bhasker, the price does not matter much as they opt for a fixed size and shaped idol. He says: “The price is not of much concern as it only varies if you go in for a bigger size or some other shape.”
Tejas states that every year they pay `100 more than the previous year’s rate, as “it is believed that the price should not drop. If this year you buy the Ganesha idol for `1000, you cannot buy for a lesser price next year.”
A Ganesha idol of two feet could cost `3000 and above whereas a larger idol can cost anything between `3000 and `12000 depending on design, elements used like pearls, stones, etc. A Sarvajanik idol of five feet costs about `15000.
What the idol makers have to say
While it is interesting, looking into the minds of people as they go about selecting the idol to bring home, the task to get these idols to look life-like needs art, dedication and patience.
Idol makers are busy during this time giving those perfect touches to the idols; after all it is their Lord Ganesha they are making. Shubhash More from Cumbarjua says that people generally prefer Ganesha idols made from mud and in that they have various kinds of preferences.
He says: “Some look for Ganesha idols in a sitting position on a throne or mushak or peacock,” adding that parents who have young children prefer to have Ganesha idol with interesting art work that could even have some kind of cartoon element to it.
Tulshidas Naik from Margao who has been making Ganesha idols since1965 says that people have different demands when it comes to choosing Ganapati. However, he mostly does traditional Ganesha idols made of mud and does not like experimenting with a new style.