Presently, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is being celebrated in full swing in many parts of India. During this festival idols of Lord Ganesha are brought home or to common community pandals, worshipped for 1.5 – 10 days (depending on the number of days that anyone has decided to keep them) and then, amidst major fanfare, immersed in the sea. Ganpatis are everywhere at this moment in houses, streets, colonies, temples, and you hear the artis and music whenever you pass one.
But have you ever wondered how they are made? I always did and this year I decided to visit some Ganpati workshops and understand the entire process. I loved this entire workshop walk as I saw so many idols (in all shapes, sizes, colors) in a single place, that it was just mind boggling. I saw idols in the form of Krishna, Shiva, Hanuman, RK Laxman’s common man, sitting on a bird, on a swing, etc etc. It was like being in a Ganpati candy store
For this workshop walk, I found 2 willing office employees (who live in that area and volunteer with Ganpati pandals) who consented to act as our guides. They escorted us through multiple workshops and we saw many ganpatis in various stages of completion. There were an immense variety of idols such as small to large sizes, different shapes, vibrant colors and designs. And below, I have summarized the entire process of how this scared god comes to life for millions of devotees across India.
1. The construction of new Ganpatis (for the next year) starts pretty much immediately after one years’ Ganpati festival is over. The process starts when idol designers start sketching ideas for new idols. These designs are then collated in a catalogue and various pandal owners select and place orders for their idols. At times these orders are placed 6 – 8 months in advance. And based on the orders, different casts are made. There is a different cast for the face, hands, feet, stomach and additional accessories.
2. Based on each design, these various parts are then assembled to form a single idol. Some idols are so large that they need scaffolding for artists to be able to work on them.
3. These idols are then spray painted for the base tone color of the skin, clothes etc.
4. And then the new tools of the trade come into play i.e. the colorful paints and palettes -
5. Based on the designs, theme etc each idol receives its detailing and accessorizing. Each aspect has a single specialist who just paints that element – eyes are painted by the eye expert, ornaments by the ornament expert, etc etc.
6. Then clothes are draped on the idol,
in some cases, laces are added as trimmings to the clothes,
And for some idols, real accessories are added.
7. Along with the idols various other accessories are made of – Ganeshji’s mouse, the backgrounds, the modaks, cushions etc are made and assembled along with each idol.
8. This entire process takes anywhere between 3 – 4 weeks and the final touches on every idol are given based on the buyers requests. And once the entire idol is assembled and complete, its all set to go home We saw one idol that was going to a jail. Yes, this festival is celebrated in jails too
Have you ever had an opportunity to visit any Ganpati workshops? If yes, do share your thoughts on the same below or tweet at traveler_budget.