The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ganesha idols adorn Indian town before Hindu festival celebrating the elephant-headed deity
In this photograph taken on August 6, 2015, Dilip Raut, dusts plaster idols of the elephant-headed Hindu God of prosperity, Lord Ganesha at a workshop in Pen village, in Raigad district of the western state of Maharashtra, some 75 kms east of Mumbai. Pen, in Maharashtra state, is renowned for its exquisitely designed and beautifully coloured statues of the auspicious god, which are sold around the world providing the lifeblood of this small community. AFP PHOTO/ INDRANIL MUKHERJEE.

By: Peter Hutchison

PEN (AFP).- Recently married, Namrata Raut returned to her family home in rural western India to paint hundreds of Ganesha idols ahead of a major Hindu festival celebrating the elephant-headed deity.

Pen, in Maharashtra state, is renowned for its exquisitely designed and beautifully coloured statues of the auspicious god, which are sold around the world providing the lifeblood of this small community. 

"There are about 350 workshops in the town and they all require many artists," Raut tells AFP, putting the finishing touches on another brightly painted carving of Hinduism's most recognisable god.

"I got married a month ago and live in Mumbai now but I've returned to help out. The industry is key to people's livelihoods here. It fills the stomachs of families," the 28-year-old adds.

Ganesh Chaturthi is a hugely popular 11-day religious celebration that honours Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and the goddess Parvati.

The festival is celebrated annually across India and is marked by Hindus in every corner of the globe.

In the weeks leading up to Ganesh Chaturthi around 250,000 idols are made in workshops lining the streets of Pen, a town of 30,000 people around 75 kilometres (50 miles) outside Mumbai.

The idols depict the one-tusked, four-armed Ganesha sitting holding a sweet delicacy.

While some artisans operate all year round, the majority, like Raut, work part-time for the cottage industry, in seasonal employment that dominates the rural economy of India. 

Her father's workshop sells about 2,500 idols every season. The statues are made from clay or plaster and dipped in a white coating before being painted exactly to the customer's specifications.

Eco-friendly Ganeshas 
Sagar Pawar, the owner of one of Pen's largest Ganesha idol-making factories, says his workshop churns out 25,000 statues every year, some of which are sent abroad.

"Just in this year we have sold our Ganesha idols in London and in America also," Pawar tells AFP proudly.

In another workshop just around the corner, Dipak Samel points to a glass cabinet containing an elaborately-painted sculpture of the elephant god, unusually with a feather attached.

"This one is going to Bangkok," he says.

"My store has been in operation for 60 years. We make idols ranging in size from six inches to twelve feet, costing between 50 and 30,000 rupees," Samel explains.

This year's Ganesh Chaturthi runs from September 17 to 27 and culminates with the idols being ritually immersed in water.

Mumbai, India's commercial capital, traditionally hosts some of the largest gatherings with tens of thousands dipping idols in the Arabian Sea at beaches along the city's coast.

In recent years there has been a drive by activists to raise awareness of the environmental damage that the immersion causes.

The workshops in Pen are taking note, increasingly making eco-friendly idols out of natural clay that dissolve in water rather than less biodegradable plaster.

They are also turning to non-toxic watercolours and natural products such as turmeric and multani mitti, a light clay popularly used in skin care, rather than chemical paints to colour the statues.

"Customers want eco-friendly idols now," says Pawar.

© 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse

Today's News

August 15, 2015

Archaeologists report Kukulkan Pyramid at Chichen Itza built over an underground river

Largest Rodin exhibition ever presented in Canada on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Elvis Presley's jewelry, outfits fetch surprisingly high bids at the annual "Elvis Week"

Christie's offers works from The Arthur and Anita Kahn Collection in a series of sales in New York, London and Paris

Nationalmuseum Sweden acquires miniature painting by Jean-Baptiste Singry

Hundreds of couples reenact famous photograph of a kiss between a sailor and a woman

Metropolitan Museum to present major exhibition of masterworks from ancient Egypt's Middle Kingdom

Ganesha idols adorn Indian town before Hindu festival celebrating the elephant-headed deity

Royals warn against paparazzi pictures of Prince George; Urged media to boycott their pictures

A unique album of unheard compositions by Jazz legend Oscar Peterson to be offered at Sotheby's

Exhibition of photographs by photographer Pete McBride on view at the Rockwell Museum

New curator ushers in exciting semester at University of Virginia's art museum

Moscow art by artist Vadim Sidur smashed as Orthodox activists denounce 'blasphemy'

David Wallace Haskins' Skycube makes world premiere at Elmhurst Art Museum

'Flame of Excellence' by Santiago Medina dedicated to the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

Arctic's Soviet-era ghost town seeing revival

Galpão Fortes Vilaça opens exhibition of works by Portuguese artist Julião Sarmento

First New York solo exhibition of painter Cy Gavin on view at Sargent's Daughters

Exhibition of paintings and photography by Helen Smith on view at the Art Gallery of Western Australia

The Whitworth announces four new exhibitions to complete its reopening year

Steven Campbell collage, Fake Ophelia (1991) donated to The Glasgow School of Art

Cincinnati Art Museum's new special feature 'Unknown Elements' ignites the imagination

Bucharest: "The Invisible Kids" a solo show by Daniel Brici at Nasui Collection & Gallery

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- The Morgan receives a major Renoir drawing unseen for over 50 years

2.- Recording console built by Elvis Costello and used to record Stairway to Heaven stars at Bonhams sale

3.- On December 9, estate jewelry & more goes up for bid at Turner Auctions + Appraisals

4.- French museum chief hits back at call to return African art

5.- David Castillo Gallery to present works by a stellar group of artists at Art Basel Miami Beach

6.- Ancient Chinese painting auctioned for almost $60 million at Christie's Hong Kong

7.- Exploring the watery remains of France's sunken Roman port of Olbia

8.- Exhibition examines eroticism in paintings and drawings of the male and female nude

9.- Thieves nab Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting from Vienna auction house

10.- Israeli archaeologists unveil rare stone mask dating to the Neolithic

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful