Mumbai Lens: Gem of a Ganpati

It is Ganeshotsav or Ganpati time in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra and . And depending on how one looks at it, this is a time for holidays, modaks, new beginnings, traffic jams, crowded market places, laddoos, discounts, devotion… For me, it is an explosion of creativity.

From the time Bal Gangadhar Tilak turned the annual family level Ganeshotsav to a community level event in 1893, Lord Ganesha became everyone’s favourite deity. This also meant that, over the decades, the Ganpati idols got more creative with each passing year and the Ganesh pandals became opportunities to highlight social issues, or creative talent in presenting Ganeshas made from ice, different types of grasses or cereals, vegetables, fruits, papier-mache, etc.

It is not just Ganpati Pandals that get creative; shopping malls and departmental stores get into the act too. It was at a well-known departmental store that I saw one of the most unusual and creative Ganpati idols last year.

Ganesha, Ganpati, Gems

This Cadbury Gems encrusted Ganpati idol was absolutely eye-catching and the vivid colours just drew the crowds like a magnet. What I liked most about the idol was the idea, of course, the colours chosen, and the eye for detail. Do notice how the gems follow the drape of the dhoti in the 3rd photograph and the mouse with the very realistic looking laddoo.

In fact, so realistic was the laddoo that I was witness to a couple of tantrums by kids who wanted to take the mouse and laddoo home. I didn’t envy the parents one bit 😀

Ganesha, Ganpati, GemsGanesha, Ganpati, Cadbury GemsI am yet to go Ganpati Pandal hopping this year and can’t wait to see what is on display this year in Mumbai:-)

Have you seen similar creative depictions of Ganesh idols? I would love to hear more about them.

Mumbai Lens is a photographic series which, as the name suggests, is Mumbai-centric and is an attempt to capture the various moods of the city through my camera lens. You can read more of the posts here.

29 thoughts on “Mumbai Lens: Gem of a Ganpati

  1. The Gems Ganpati sure is very creative. Very pretty and colourful! Thanks for sharing this with us, Sudha! Would love to see creative Ganesha pictures from Mumbai from this year as well.

    The pictures in your post reminded me of the Cadburys Gems ad, too. Blasphemy? 😀

    I think Ganesha is one of the most versatile of gods as far his form is concerned, and people have moulded him into so many varieties – from a doctor to a computer operator! 🙂 I personally own a collection of Ganesha idols of different shapes and varieties. Should do a post on that some time. I admire the creativity of artisans who make such amazing creations and love collecting various Ganeshas as and when possible.

    You might be interested in reading one of my old posts about a Ganesha hub in Ahmedabad: http://thegalnxtdoor.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/the-ganesha-hub-that-is-called-hollywood/

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    1. Yes, you should do a post on your Ganesha collection soon. Somehow, it is this versatility that has led to such creative depictions of this much loved God. Unfortunately, due to travel, I will not be able to go pandal hopping. But I did read that there was an idol that was made of different varieties of Chikki !

      And i will read your post, once I am back in Mumbai.

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  2. This is super cute! I love it ❤ and tempting. I love the creativity people introduce in ganapati designs 🙂 🙂 also loved the disney entrance you shared on twitter 😀

    Richa

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  3. that is a lovely ganpati, Sudha! I remember seeing a choc covered Ganesha long back, when i was in school… havent seen any such creative idols recently. but i do have one question…. what is the basic idol made of? and what happens to the gems after the 10 days? is it possible to actually eat them up? or are they stuck and will be immersed at the end? if so, its rather a waste, isnt it? wish the makers also told us what they planned to do after the 10 days

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    1. Anu, this was an opportunity to advertise Cadbury Gems. This is what I think theidol was all about: a basic PoP idol was taken and encrusted with non-edible Gem like thingies. There is no way the real chocolate Gems could have withstood the heat of the lamps. The look alike Gems were probably made of plastic. As for what happened after 10 days of the festival is anyone’s guess – the pellets were removed and then the idol immersed. Or if the pellets were made of a soluble material, then the entire idol was immersed.

      I did look around for someone to tell me about the idol, but there was no one there apart from the guard, who looked at me like I was from outer space when I asked these questions.

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  4. The colours are absolutely gorgeous with such attention to detail. But like Anuradha above, I too am curious about what happens to the gems. Perhaps it is made of cake and the gems stuck to it. In which case, eating the idol would be a sacrilege. See, this is what happens when one stops seeing just the aesthetics of a work of art and begins thinking logically 😀

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    1. I don’t think these were real gems as they would have melted in the heat and glare of the lights trained on the Ganesha. These are definitely gems of the inedible kind.

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