Hindu Vivek Kendra
«« Back

Ganpati idols make trip by sea as Indians abroad keep tradition alive 

Author: Indira.Rodericks @timesgroup.com
Publication: The Times of India 
Date: August 18, 2014

 For most Ganpati idol-makers in Navi Mumbai, the bulk of their customers are residents of the area, but a sizeable number of idols they create find their way to far away places in Australia, Canada, Fiji, Mauritius and the US. Almost two months before the festival begins, these idols start their journey to Indian homes abroad, where the people want to continue with the traditions they grew up with.

 “The small idols are sent by air and the large ones by the sea. Sometimes, the large idols take even two-and-a-half months to be transported by sea,“ said Sachin Samal of Deepak Kala Arts in Pen village.
Around 1,000 idols are made at Samal's workshop and he depends on a local agent who oversees the idols' transportation--all carefully packed--to homes across the world. Most Ganpatis sent abroad are made of plaster of Paris as those made of clay always run the risk of breaking.

“Idols sent abroad are usually two to three feet tall. We avoid sending larger idols for two reasons: First, they take a longer time to complete and secondly, transportation is not easy,“ Samal said.

 Majority of customers opt for a sea courier, rates for which vary , depending on the size, destination and the mode of transportation. “The range starts from Rs 4,000. The idols are first wrapped in a plastic cover, then boxed in moulded thermocol and then packed in crates,“ said Pramod, the transportation agent who is in charge of sending out Samal's idols.

 The scene is now similarly busy at Ki ran Wankhede's stall at Vashi, where idols are lined up, but will be delivered to local homes just a day before the festival. But he has already sent out the Ganpatis meant for homes across the sea. “Either we have to make arrangements or a customer directly contacts an agent for transportation,“ Wankhede said.

 MKhandekar, who has a stall at Vashi, pointed out that youngsters studying abroad often carried small idols along with them. “The festival arriving early has helped as students leave around this time,“ said Khandekar. “We usually recommend that idols taken abroad should not be too big, especially if the customer is travelling with it,“ she said.

Manohar Kane, another artisan from Kopar Khairane, said with more and more Indians living shifting to foreign countries, demand for Ganpati idols there are also increasing. “Earlier, sending idols abroad involved a lot of work, but now agents get the job done,“ he said. Shekhar Kamdar, a seller from Nerul, said, “Many of my customers who have settled down aboard like to continue with the traditions they grew up with. The costs may have increased but it isn't a deterrant.“
«« Back
  Search Articles
  Special Annoucements