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Wednesday 14 September 2011

Statues of Ganesh

The God of wisdom, attainment and prosperity, Ganpati or Ganesha is in all probability one of the most loved and worshipped deities in Hinduism. In fact, there is a ten-day festival celebrated in India, Nepal, and by Hindus living in the United States, Canada, Fiji, Singapore, etc., starting on Ganesh Chaturthi and ending on Anant Chaturdashi. This festival marks the birth of Lord Ganesh as one of the superior gods. The beloved elephant-headed God is believed to bestow his presence on all who worship him during these ten days of celebrations. The festival begins with setting up of statues of Ganesha at homes and podiums especially built and exquisitely decorated for the festival.

On the last day of the festival, Anant Chaturdashi these statues are immersed in water. Traditionally the statues were made out of mud, but through the years they transitioned into materials like Plaster of Paris, which is not environmentally friendly. People have now become aware of the environmental danger and damage this enormous amount of Plaster of Paris does to the rivers, lakes and hence the eco-system, and started considering alternatives like using a permanent idol made out of stone, fiberglass, fiber reinforced plastic (FRP), or metals.

There are a number of options available in the market nowadays. You can find the simplest idols if that is how you interpret the power of Lord Ganesh or the most intricately carved figure that holds every minute detail about the idol right from having his Modak (sweet offerings) and mouse by his feet, to his Parashu (axe), Pasha (lasso) and Ankusha (hook) in his hands. These idols come in a variety of sizes, styles and details that you can choose from, according to your preferences and purpose of acquiring the statue. While many might see the statues as an idol for worship, there are a large number of people who like buying statues of this deity for decorative purposes, as a gift for special occasions, and some even collect different Ganesh statues as almost each is distinct and unique in its own way.

Statues of Ganesha may be portrayed dancing or standing, but most popularly sitting on a throne with a protruding belly, his weapons in hand, mouse and sweets called modaka or laddus by his side. The sheer skill of the artisans and their craftsmanship can be witnessed through some of the more intricately worked on elaborate idols of this deity. Owning such piece of art, a statue of Ganesha, regardless of its size or purpose is something you can take pride in for years to come.

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