September 2016 We are familiar with the idea of eco-friendly Ganesha idols but the concept of having an organic deity that transforms into a tree is definitely a first of its kind. The idea received overnight acknowledgment, completing one million views on its social media page a few days before its launch! Starting from making one tree Ganesha idol for his home, Dattadri Kothur obtained innumerable bookings. “There has been such a passionate response that we had to close the waiting list,” he exclaims. With a degree in commercial arts, he is a senior arts director in ONM Company and has been creating awareness since the last eight years on issues like deforestation, electricity conservation, and eco-friendly tourism. “I’ve been making eco-friendly Ganpatis since the last 15 years. But in 2014, when I was standing soaked and elated with the festivities around me in Girgaum, Chowpatty, during Ganesh visarjan, I was disturbed to see this festival of love and prosperity leaving behind so much environmental pollution. For me, Ganesha has always been a very powerful influence and in my heart I believed that the Lord would not stand for this. At that very moment this idea hit me.” he shares. Dattadri joined a workshop to understand the workings of a nursery, the influences of seasons and the types of seeds that are compatible with the organic material that he wanted to use for the making of Ganesha’s idols. “I switched from using red soil to organic fertiliser for the idols with the seeds resting patiently in the mighty lord’s belly. The idea was to let people do pooja and visarjan right in their own homes and derive the benefits of worshipping the God of wisdom and the destroyer of obstacles, close to their hearths.” He has a team of eight people and it takes him 5-6 hours to make an idol. Painted in water-based colours, the idol is set in a flowerpot and when it is watered down, the seeds dissolve – taking 5-10 days to grow into little seedlings of a ladyfinger plant! Dattadri lives and works at Lower Parel, Mumbai, and to all those people who believe in an eco-friendly celebration of Maharashtra’s favourite god, he is just an email away. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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