A year ago, a 30-year-old Lower Parel resident had experimented in making an idol which can later be watered to grow a tree. As he succeeded in doing so, Dattadri Kothur posted his innovative idea named ‘Tree Ganesh’ on the social media and received much appreciation for it. This year, when he started making such idols for sale, within two days, over 300 people called him to book them in advance.

The idol is made up of red soil, organic fertiliser and lady finger seeds. Talking about how he started to make this eco-friendly ganpati idol, Kothur, said: “Last year, I made one Ganesh idol as an experiment to see if it is a feasible initiative. The aim is to reduce the pollution level and the harmful effect on environment caused due to the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP). The concept helps to contribute to the environment while we celebrate festivals.”

In May 2015, Kothur did a basic course of gardening in nursery to learn about the technical details before starting this own initiative. The seed are mixed with mud to make the idol and they are also inserted into the mud pot. It takes one week for an idol to be completed. “The seeds and organic fertilisers are brought from Byculla nursery while the red soil is brought from Kumbharwada area in Dharavi. The organic fertiliser does not allow the seeds to dry up.”

Rather than immersing the idol in a water body, people will have to water the idol everyday so that the idol start melting in the mud pot attached with it and the seed germination process begins. “People should pour three mugs of water everyday so that the idol gets converted into mud. Within a week, the seeds start sprouting.”

The size of the idols ranges from 12 to 20 inches according to the order made by the customers.

For 14 years, Kothur has been making eco-friendly Ganesh idols to celebrate the festival at his home. Learning about the initiative, he got calls, WhatsApp messages and mails from various cities. But this year, he will be delivering idols only in Mumbai and Pune. “A few foreign customers will be asking their relatives to collect the idols from the workshop,” said Kothur.

Don’t immerse, just water it

Rather than immersing the idol in a water body, people will have to water the idol everyday so that the idol start melting in the mud pot attached with it and the seed germination process begins. “People should pour three mugs of water everyday so that the idol gets converted into mud. Within a week, the seeds start sprouting.”

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