Ganesh Chathurthi provides food for 25 Belgaum families
Belgaum (Karnataka), July 23: Come June-July every year, over 25 families in this border city of Karnataka swing into action to prepare the idols of Lord Ganesh ahead of the popular Ganesh Chathurthi festival.
All the members of these 25 families are involved in this work, which earn them their livelihood till the next year.
The 65-year-old Mallappa Baburao Lad, a fifth generation person into this job, says the whole family (six males and five females) toil for two months to prepare over 6,000 idols ranging from one foot to 12 ft.
While the small idols were meant for pooja at home, the big ones were installed at public places on Ganesh Chathurthi day. The Lad family invested around Rs five or six lakh in the business and earned over Rs nine lakh, with over 50 per cent of the idols being booked in advance. The speciality of the Lad family was that at least one of their idols installed at public places won the prize for the best idol from the 'Sarvajanik Ganapati Utsav Mandali'.
Talking to UNI, Mr Lad said he was happy with his work and satisfied with whatever he earned from the business. ''The work has become a bit easier now. Earlier, mud was used for preparing the idols, but now white cement and plaster of paris are also used along with mud,'' he added.
The price of the idols range from Rs 101 to 25,000 and would be on the rise every year with the cost of raw materials skyrocketing.
One more family, that of Mr Balachandra Baburao Mane (50), which was also into the business for the last four generations, prepared 1,000 idols every year. The price of idols prepared by Mane family ranged from Rs 51 to Rs 4,000 depending on the decoration and size.
The festival was special for Belgaumites as lakhs of people from surrounding areas thronged the city to see Ganesh idols installed at public places for 11 days from the day of Ganesh Chathurthi. On the eleventh day, the idols were taken in a colourful procession for immersion.