On Ganesh Chaturthi today, families in Mumbai and across India will welcome Ganpati idols into their homes with great pomp and festivity. In several households, elaborate decorations are handcrafted to house the lord, others spend lavishly on thrones and lights. But among many, a sense of responsible celebration has grown.

Deepa Balasubramanian, an IT professional by day, keeps her creativity alive by putting her art skills to use once a year for her favorite, Lord Ganesh. In recent years, she has focused on moving toward environmentally friendly decoration and recycled material.

This is a glimpse of her efforts at an eco-conscious celebration of the Ganesh festival.
This noble tree sheltering the Ganesh idol has been fashioned with eco-friendly cardboard and textured paper forming the tree trunk and the base, while the leaves are creeper decorations pasted on an open umbrella. Now that’s pretty green.

Ganpati-decoration-tree-by Deepa

This magnificent Ganesh is surrounded by figurines painted over recycled board cut-outs playing the traditional folk dance of dandiya raas in celebration of the impending Navraatri — the festival of nine nights. Other figures, handcrafted with clay and water-soluble paint, celebrate the harvest festival of Pongal by cooking a traditional dish of Pongal from the first harvest. A handcrafted Shiv ling, a representation of Lord Shiva, complements the Ganesh idol. This awesomely green decoration hits hard on the festive scale.

 

The Lord rides a boat in this milieu, one created with recycled board, clothed in an Indian sari. The mountain on the side, handcrafted with balls of paper, draped in cloth and bathed in good ole mud, also holds small Ganesh idols. The backdrop of the sky with birds painted on adds to the serenity of the scene.

This gorgeous sustainable coconut shell housing Ganesha has been created with recycled board and covered with glossy eco-friendly paper. The outer area of the shell  is enfolded in actual coconut husk. That Ganesh for you, au natural.

Ganpati-statue in cocunut1-by Deepa

If building your own Ganesh decor is too ambitious for you, use sustainable decorations, like backdrops created from bamboo or recycled cardboard. Lalbaug and Shivaji Park in Mumbai are good locations to find one. And remember, with Ganesh idols, clay is the way to go.

Ganpati-statue-cardboard decoration-by Deepa