“Any woman can lift the 3-foot Ganesh idol and climb three floors with ease. The idols are that light-weight and cause no harm to the environment,” says a confident Avinash Patkar, a 60-year-old sculptor.
For the last 12 years, Patkar has been making Ganesh idols using old newspapers. He creates about 90 idols every year, with sizes varying from 1 foot to 14 feet. Owner of Gautami Arts at Grant Road, Patkar’s entire family, including his wife, sister and children, helps him with the job.
The idols are made by crushing the paper and using a special technique to give it hardness and the desired shape. The makers then add a white ink powder to give the idol an even white coat. Patkar then paints the idol to give it life, using only eco-friendly water colours that do not cause much harm to the environment.
According to Patkar, when these idols are immersed in water, it immediately disintegrates.
With every passing year, the city is welcoming eco-friendly Ganesh idols in a bigger way.
“Though these idols are costlier by 20-30 per cent when compared to normal shaadu (clay) idols, they do not cause any harm to our surroundings, which is the biggest benefit. Today, I have a limited customer base who buy these eco-friendly idols. I hope the number increases every year,” says Patkar.
Some of the well-known Ganesh idols that the sculptor has made includes the 14-ft Kalbadevicha Raja and an 8-ft idol at Sion. Apart from this, he he has created the Goud Saraswat Brahmin (GSB) Ganpati in Wadala. Throughout the year, Patkar trains seven to eight sculptors at the Regional Design and Technical Development Centre in Lower Parel.