This is an initiative to preserve cultural heritage

Creativity was at its best when about hundred children from various schools of Visakhapatnam sat together to personally make eco-friendly idols of Ganesha as part of their crusade to turn their environment free of toxins released by painted idols.

The Indian National Trust For Art and Cultural Heritage , Visakhapatnam chapter as part of its endeavour to preserve the cultural heritage with an eye on bringing awareness among future citizens on the need for protecting their surroundings through better practices organised a workshop ‘Mrudh Vinayakam' at Andhra University English Medium School here on Monday.

Shaik Nagul Meera Vali, a Sixth Standard student youngest among the lot of trainees, enthusiastically joined his classmates in moulding a small idol of Ganesha making sure he added all elements of the idol of the most-liked God. “I have watched it in my friends' places and at our school, so I know where to put the trunk, and the laddus Lord Ganesha likes in his hands,” the boy bubbling with energy said proudly displaying his work to Andhra University Fine Arts Department Head Ravi Shankar Patnaik.

Internationally renowned sculptor and university professor along with two of his students made an idol out of clay brought from Kothavalasa for the purpose explaining the nuances of handling clay at home. The INTACH convenor Rani Sarma explained the hazards of ‘immersion' of chemically coloured Plaster-of-Paris idols, which not only pollute drinking water sources, but PoP forms a layer at the bottom of water body making it dead in course of time.

Skills to the fore

So diverse were the creative skills of students that none of them followed the example being set by Fine Arts Department experts. If Rajesh (VIII C) from the host school created a Ganesha sitting under hood of a triple-headed snake, Dinesh gave importance to every minute detail, though the size was small.

Idols of all sizes sprang up in no time and all the students of Oak Wood School made the Lord sit on a `Lotus' pedestal. Ashrit from the school incorporated a snake hood and rat. Usha from Visakha Valley School gave importance to the decorated umbrella and created four hands. Large ears, typical feature of Ganesha idols, were seen in the work of Sri Prakash and Visakha Valley School students. Others from INTACH present were Mayank Devi Deo, and Paul V. Edward.

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