Ganesh Chaturthi falls on the fourth day of the waxing phase of the moon (shukla paksha) of the Bhadrapada month….’bhadrapada maasena chaturthyam/brahamanaadi poojitam’, as the great Carnatic music composer Muthuswami Dikshitar sings. In Bangalore, preparations for the puja start quite early.
Here is the Lord in different shapes and sizes, all packaged and ready to be picked up by the devout and religious.
(All pictures by the author.)
Posters in various localities announce the forthcoming puja and the puja karta (one who is conducting it) too.
I met Shakuntala Jain, an artist who depicts Ganesha in various poses, in both natural and abstract modes. She says she has been painting for several years now, and has a devoted clientele for her paintings; she loves to paint images of this god as "he is so versatile, and can be painted in any form or avatar." Here is A M Gopal Rao of Avighna,a boutique in Vyalikaval, pointing out the nuances of Ganesha as a veena player, at an exhibition of her paintings there:
Avighna has a great collection of Ganesha idols, large and small, in various materials. Sometimes, the hand that holds the idol is incorporated in the idol itself!
Many people’s homes have figures of Ganesha; I found this abstract sculpture in the garden of a Jayamahal residence:
R V Road is the place of choice to go and buy idols of Ganesha for the festival. Several dealers stock plenty of Ganeshas in their store:
Some of the idols are made in Pondicherry, of papier-maiche. Others are made in Bengal, from mud; these are a little more expensive. Here’s a Ganesha playing the pipe, which looks like an extension of his trunk!
Some Ganeshas don’t seem to be quite ready to face the world yet!
I spoke to Sridhar, proprietor of one of the shops on R V Road, who sells Ganeshas for the festival. "It is a large investment," he said; "but I am able to wrap up unsold idols for the next year." This year, he says, sales have been pretty good in spite of the heavy rain; in fact, things have improved from last year.
Some very innovative idols and tableaus are beginning to be displayed at community pujas now, reminiscent of the Puja festivities in Bengal. Some of the idols have topical themes. Here, the artisan’s pride in India’s achievement is depicted through Abhinav Bindra and his gold medal!
The recent bomb blasts ("riots" was the word Sridhar used) which claimed a life, has Chief Minister Yeddiyurappa visiting the scene. Don’t miss the mourners, and the police officer guarding the body; he has a pistol that is so diligently crafted! All these figures are from Kumartuli, Sridhar said. The idols are dressed in designer clothes, ornamentation, and accessories!
Apart from the community pujas, of course, there are the thousands of Ganesha temples dotting our city, where the festival will be celebrated with pomp and grandeur. Let’s also pray to the Vighna Vinashaka to remove all the obstacles to our success, bless us with wisdom, and ensure that Namma Bengaluru prospers! ⊕