BY SNEHA DEY
An array of Ganesh idols of various designs and sizes line up in a row on the road that leads to Kumbharwada. As the city gears up to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi, these idols sell throughout the day.
Hanumant Kale (50), who has been selling idols for a decade now, says, “We have incorporated new designs on the idols this year that are inspired from a daily soap ‘Jai Malhar’, aired on Zee Marathi.”
The small-sized idols, within a price bracket of rupees 500 and 700, are selling fast in the market. As the sizes increase, the cost of the idols, too, rise upto sums between Rs 2,000 to Rs 8,000.
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The cost of production, also, has seen a hike. However, the sales do not compensate for the investment.
“The sales have gone down. It could be because of the rain or a price rise that might not be feasible for the customers,” says Sachin More, one of the vendors at Kumbharwada. “As about the cost of production, the prices of paints and transport have increased which have fallen upon us as a huge burden. We’re dealing with it,” he adds.
“My family celebrates Ganpati every year. For some odd reason, we have seen a trend that the prices show about five to ten per cent increase every year. Even this season, an idol which I would have bought at Rs 500 last year is now being sold at Rs 750,” a customer, shopping for a Ganesh murti, says.
Kaka Halwai at Burdhwar Peth, which is one of the biggest sweet centres in the city and the official providers of modaks at the Dagdusheth Halwai Ganpati, has introduced new varieties of modak including the mava modak, chocolate modak, kaju modak and the panchakhad modak. “These newly introduced modaks are doing really well this year and the sales have soared up to about 10 to 20 per cent, “ says Prathamesh Halwai, the co-owner at the Kaka Halwai. More than a thousand modaks are delivered to the Dagduasheth temple regularly, Halwai claims. “The orders increase as the days of the festival approach,” he says.
Festivals are incomplete without vibrant decorations and fresh flowers. Occupying a major part of the lane behind Dagdusheth Temple, sit a large number of flower vendors in rows, selling sunflowers, roses, poppies and marigolds.
“Sales are never very shocking for us. It is a moderate affair every festival. Prices have risen because of the sudden seasonal changes but there is also a good demand among customers for us to deal with it,” says Vaishovi, a flower vendor. As for the decorative items which mostly consist of streamers and lights, the prices remain fairly affordable. “When the prices of everything in the economy are on an upward slope, thankfully there is something that is still within a common man’s reach,” mocks one of the customers buying decorations for the festival at the Payal Arts, Burdhwar Peth.