Ganesh Chaturthi is easily one of the most popular festivals that celebrates the coming of Lord Ganesha. It is a beautiful and symbolic journey of a young Ganesha who comes down from his home in The Himalayas to visit his family for 10 days before returning to Mount Kailasa.
Unfortunately, while the rituals associated with this festival are pious and glorious, they may not necessarily be ideal for the environment. However, there are ways to celebrate this festival while reducing the impact on nature. Here are seven ways to enjoy an environmentally conscious celebration.
1. Biodegradable Ganesha idols
If DIY is your thing, take this opportunity to fashion your own Ganesha idol using Shadu chi Mati or natural clay, and use natural colours made from turmeric, red sandalwood, Multani Mitti (Fuller’s earth) etc. to paint it. There are plenty of idol makers who use materials like Alum, which dissolves quickly and purifies wastewater. Another option is Plant-a-Ganesha, which is an idol made from red-soil, natural fertilisers and Tulsi seeds (Holy Basil). The idol is placed in a planter under water until it dissolves. It is the perfect way to celebrate an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi while adding positive vibes to your home.
2. A Sarvajanik effort
Instead of having several individual idols in separate homes, join hands with your community to find new and creative ways to celebrate this festival together. Opt for idols made of cow dung, which can be immersed in lakes or artificial tanks and used to provide manure for gardens, playgrounds and fields. Alternately, create idols that fish can eat. These are fashioned from clay and stuffed with fish-friendly foods like wheat, spinach, corn and vegetable powder. Your Ganesha idol can be karmically in more than one way.
3. Artificial Immersion Tanks
You can also hold a visarjan at home for your eco-friendly Ganesh in a bucket of water. Another option can be an artificial immersion tank for community immersions. The water can be reused for plants and trees in your locality, purified and used for non-consumption purposes.
4. Save electricity
he decorations for the arrival of the Lord into your home can be both, festive and energy efficient. If you need to use light bulbs, pick LED lights or energy efficient lights, and switch them on for Aarti (prayers) for short periods of time. The ultimate replacement for artificial lights would be using organic diyas (earthen lamps) or tea-light candles, which not only serve the purpose but also add a touch of elegance to the celebrations.
5. Community Compost
Come together with your neighbours to collect biodegradable waste from every home to put in a community compost pit. This includes offerings, flowers and garlands from Poojas and decorations. All the organic waste generated can be used to fertilise your gardens and nearby parks. The non-biodegradable waste can be recycled, and your devotional vibrations will help create greener surroundings for you and the generations to come!
6. Keep the sound down
Visarjans can be loud and disruptive, and can negatively impact the elderly, pets and local animals, and children if not handled carefully. Turning down the volume of commercial music played during the processions is certainly an idea you can consider. Instead of large speakers, having people chant devotional songs and prayers for Ganesha’s departure might be more fitting.
If you want to take a trip out of your regular cities to celebrate an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi, visit Trivandrum where environment-friendly Ganesha idols are immersed not to only conserve tradition but also take care of the environment and marine life. You can book your stay at Club Mahindra Poovar, to not only enjoy a friendly Ganesh Chaturthi but also indulge in delicious local cuisines and and the rich cultural heritage.
It is time for us to be more responsible and make our approach toward celebrations more inclusive of other organisms we share this planet with. Apply the 3 R's-Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - however you can, and Mother Earth will thank you for your devotion and service to humanity.
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