Pen artists start send­ing Gan­pati idols abroad

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

With only four months left for Ganesh Chaturthi, the idol mak­ers from Pen have started send­ing Gan­pati idols abroad.

The artists re­ceive or­ders from the or­gan­is­ers from dif­fer­ent coun­tries be­tween Oc­to­ber and Jan­uary. They fin­ish mak­ing the idols by April and start send­ing them abroad by the first week of May from the Jawa­har­lal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in Navi Mum­bai.

“As soon as we fin­ish mak­ing the idols, we in­form the or­gan­is­ers and they give us con­tact num­bers of their agents op­er­at­ing from Mum­bai and Pune. The agents col­lect the idols from us and ship them abroad. Dis­patch­ing idols by flight is very ex­pen­sive and that is why agents do not opt for that,” said Shrikant Deod­har, pres­i­dent of Shri Ganesh Mur­tikar ani Vyavasayik Kalyankari Man­dal.

They ex­port over 20,000 idols ev­ery year to coun­tries such as the US, UK, Canada, Aus­tralia, Bangkok, Dubai and Mau­ri­tius among oth­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to Deod­har, the height of a ma­jor­ity of the idols is only one to two feet. Only a hand­ful of the idols are three to six feet tall. Idols taller than six feet are a has­sle to ex­port so artis­tans stick to the stan­dard height.

“We send idols abroad just be­cause we re­ceive or­ders from the or­gan­is­ers. How­ever, the big­gest mar­ket for our idols is our own state, Ma­ha­rash­tra. We also re­ceive or­ders from neigh­bour­ing states such as Gu­jarat, Andhra Pradesh and Goa,” said Nilesh Patil, an idol maker.

Around 50,000 peo­ple in Pen are in­volved in Gan­pati idol mak­ing and they work through­out the year to churn out over 50 lakh idols, made of both Plas­ter of Paris and clay.

Deod­har said, “There are some big Ma­ha­rash­trian pock­ets in coun­tries such as the US, UK and Aus­tralia and they cel­e­brate the fes­ti­val al­most in the same way as we do. It takes al­most two-anda-half months to ex­port idols to them by ship. There­fore, they place the or­ders just af­ter the fes­ti­val so that they are ready by April.”

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