• Rose Saksena

Ganpathi Chaturthi: Maharashtra's biggest Celebration!

Ganpathi Chaturthi according to some legends marks the birth of Lord Ganesha, the youngest son of Maa Parvati and Shiva. The creation of Ganesha is rather disputed over. Some well known stories claim that, while Shiva was away, Parvati made a small boy out of the 'besan' from her body. The sole task of this boy was to guard the bathroom door while she bathed. On Shiva's return, the boy did not allow him to enter, Shiva got angry and instantly beheaded him. After receiving the news of the decapitated boy, Parvati got really angry, to calm her down Shiva promised to mend things. He sent his men to look for another head that faced north and his men came back with the head of an elephant. This is how Ganesha came to be, a child with a body of a boy and a head of an elephant.

While the other story claims, that the gods tired of the tricks played by the 'rakshasas' asked Shiva to create someone who could be 'vighnaharta' or creator of obstacles for the 'asuras' and 'vighnaharta' or remover for obstacles for 'devtas' and humans.

Since the creation of Lord Ganesh, he is worshiped before any important task is undertaken to reinstate his powers as the vighnaharta.

Although historically, Ganesh Chaturthi can be traced back to Shivaji's court as a more personal festival as Lord Ganesha was considered as the 'Kuladevata' of Shivaji, a more prominent role of the festival was seen in 1893 when Indian Freedom Fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak used Ganpathi Chaturthi as a means to unite Indians irrespective of caste, creed or colour to become one society to defile British Raj.

Traditionally, the festival is 10 days long filled with life and zest. The oldest known Ganpathi 'pandal' is located in Mumbai, set up in 1934 by a colony of fishermen, Lal Baugcha Raja today is one of the most famous pandals and also the most crowded as 'Bhakts' from all around the country come and offer their respects here.

Another tradition includes the making of Ganpathi idol with 'Shadu Mitti' or Shadu soil. This soil is special as it is found in the river bed along with the silt and is full of nutrients that are good for plants. However, with the passage of time, modernization replaced clay with POP, that is Plaster of Paris and today most idols are made out of POP.

Sanket making the Idol

Well, Sanket Kasar, an architecture student decided to do something different. In the interview he mentioned that this wasn't his first time making something in an Eco friendly manner. For the past five years he has been making the idol on his own using Shadu Clay and all the decorations around the idol are made with newspaper and everyday items that can be found at home.

That changed this year, with the ongoing pandemic he decided to make the Ganapathi idol out of old Newspapers as well.

His favorite style of making things out of newspaper is reshaping paper to make the right form. He made the entire idol by crushing paper and aligning it in a manner that would create the required shape. He spent about 7 hours for 2 weeks creating this beautiful Eco-friendly and thoughtful idol! He looks forward to doing it again.

Please note that the information was directly taken from Sanket Kasar over a phone call.

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!!!!

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