Ganesha Bappa arrives, yet again

"O Lord with the twisted trunk, with the effulgence of a billion suns, always remove the obstacles in my way…" goes the famous chant. And the Lord obliges on the most awaited day of Bhadrapada Chaturthi, which falls on 3 September this year.

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.)

Numerous Lord Ganesha Idols

Packed Ganeshas at RV Road.

Posters in various localities announce the forthcoming puja and the puja karta (one who is conducting it) too.

Ganesha Pooja Poster at Malleswaram

Ganesha pooja poster at Malleswaram.

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:

Ganesha Painting by Shakuntala Jain

Ganesha painting by Shakuntala Jain.

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!

Ganesh Idol at Hand

Ganesh idol at hand.

Many people’s homes have figures of Ganesha; I found this abstract sculpture in the garden of a Jayamahal residence:

Ganesh Idol at Jayamahal

Ganesh idol at Jayamahal.

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:

Numerous Lord Ganesha Idols

Numerous Lord Ganesha idols at RV Road.

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!

Piping Lord Ganesha Idol

Piping Lord Ganesha idol.

Some Ganeshas don’t seem to be quite ready to face the world yet!

Backside of Lord Ganesha.

Backside of Lord Ganesha.

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!

Abhinav Bindra depicted

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!

The recent bomb blasts.

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!

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