Vinayagar Chathurthi Celebration at Sevalaya

Back to the earth, Eco friendly Ganesha initiative ..

Vinayagar Chathurthi, known as Ganesh Chathurthi in the North of India, was once a simple religious festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Ganesha. Idols of Ganesha made of clay were worshipped at homes and traditionally dissolved in water bodies after the pooja was over. This private household festival  turned into a gala event when life sized decorated idols of Ganesha were taken in procession to the sea,  in which thousands of people joined  and immersed  the idols. Lokmanya Bala Gangadhara Tilak, the fiery freedom fighter was the architect of the grand event and used the occasion to kindle the spirit of nationalism.

The event has gone fancier over the years. Idols made of plastic or Plaster of Paris, and similar substances that can take months or even years to dissolve are immersed in seas and water bodies.Even the paints used to decorate the idols can have devastating impacts on the environment – for example, oil paints containing toxic substances (such as mercury and lead), pose a severe threat to marine life.

Sevalaya in an attempt to play a role in minimizing the damage caused to the environment during Ganesh Chathurthi, came up with the idea of eco-friendly Ganesha. Around 500 idols of Ganesha were made by the students of Sevalaya’s community college and the staff.  Each idol encased a few seeds with vermi compost. The idols were door delivered to 500 donors who evinced keen interest. After the pooja, the idols have to be placed in a pot and watered regularly, when the seeds inside will sprout and grow into a plant.

The response to the seed Ganesha was so overwhelming that the idols could not be delivered to some donors. Thanks to Sevalaya’s efforts there will be less pollution, though miniscule compared to the big picture. A small step has been taken, to create an awareness, save the environment and provide an alternative.

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