With rising awareness about eco-friendly Ganeshotsav celebrations, a Nerul-resident is offering devotees a way of going green. Nilesh Tupe, an auditor and chow shelter owner, is selling Ganpati idols made from cow-dung, which he sources from gaushalas in Rajasthan. Tupe, who started selling the idols a few weeks ago, says his involvement with Panchagavya Chikitsa Sangh — an organisation dedicated to using cow dung, urine, milk and curd to develop and sell eco-friendly goods and medicines — led him to become Mumbai’s head distributor for the idols made of dung.
“I heard about the initiative from some of my colleagues at the Sangh and thought it was a perfect way to help farmers and promote sustainability,” says Tupe.
Tupe’s fascination with India’s past was another reason why he got involved in this business, he says.
“Our ancestors have been celebrating festivals while also preserving the environment for a long time,” he says.
“Every year, hundreds of thousands of people immerse Ganpati idols made of Plaster of Paris and other pollutants, harming many water bodies. I want to make people aware of the fact that it is
possible to continue the tradition while preserving our environment, something our ancestors did very effectively,” he adds.
The idols made of dung can be immersed at home, with the dissolved material serving as manure. Tupe says that although he has just started the business, he can see its success already.
“Over 10,000 idols have been sent to Maharashtra. Many people are excited by my product because of its simplicity and the purpose behind its creation. I have people coming to Nerul from all over the city to buy these Ganpati idols. The sales have been rising,” he says.
Tupe offers a wide range of idols, starting from three-inch models sold at Rs 101 per piece to a 12-inch, colourful one that costs Rs 2,200.
Tupe himself maintains a 25-acre gaushala, with over 60 cows, in Kharghar.
He sells the idols at his home in Sector 10 of Nerul.