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 six 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

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.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.

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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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.Why should we use eco-friendly Ganesha?
A.One of the most important causes of pollution during Ganesh Chaturthi celebration is the mixing of harmful chemicals in water during the immersion of the Ganesh Murti. The use of eco-friendly materials to make the Lord Ganesha Murti can drastically reduce this kind of contamination of water sources. A structure made of bio-degradable materials painted with natural dyes will ensure that the water body remains safe while the ritual of immersion is also completed with all fanfare.
At Club Mahindra Poovar resort guests can see the eco-friendly Ganesh idol immersions in Trivandrum.
Q.How long does it take for eco-friendly Ganesha to dissolve?
A.Eco-friendly Lord Ganesha idols are usually made of bio-degradable environment friendly materials. These materials usually dissolve completely in water within just a few hours. This is a lot shorter than the 3 to 4 weeks dissolving time for traditional plaster of paris idols used during Ganesh festival. Quick dissolving materials like Alum or red soil can be used to make idols and celebrate an eco-friendly festival.
Q.How can we identify eco-friendly Ganesha?
A.The easiest way to identify an eco-friendly Ganesh murti will be through its weight. Eco-friendly Ganesha idols are a lot heavier than hollow plaster of paris ones. Eco-friendly Lord Ganesha idol will also not have very bright paint or colours on it. This is because natural dyes are usually a little duller and have fewer variations than synthetic colours. Eco-friendly idols are also never decorated with plastic stones and gems. These materials are non-biodegradable and can be harmful to aquatic creatures that swallow them.
Q.How many days can we keep Ganesh idol at home?
A.According to rituals and Indian custom, the idol of Lord Ganesha can be kept for 1.5 days or for 3 days or for 7 days or for all the 10 days of Ganesh Chaturthi. After the Ganesh festival is over, the idol is immersed in water. But many methods are listed above to conduct an environmentally conscious immersion ritual without compromising at all on the ritual significance of the process.
Q.Can we do Ganesh Visarjan at home?
A.Visarjan for eco-friendly Lord Ganesha idols can be done at home. Devotees can take a clean bucket with fresh water and dissolve the bio-degradable idol in that bucket of water. Even when the immersion is done in a bucket of water, all the rituals associated with the process can be performed. The bucket of water can then be used to water plants.

About Club Mahindra

Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 290,000 members , who can holiday at 140+ resorts in India and abroad.

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