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Eco-friendly Ganesh idols a big draw

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READY FOR THE SHOW: A painter gives finishing touches to a huge Ganesh idol at Bommala Colony in Tirupati on Monday. Some residents of the colony do business for crores of rupees every year during the Vinayaka Chavithi season. Photo: K.V. Poornachandra Kumar
READY FOR THE SHOW: A painter gives finishing touches to a huge Ganesh idol at Bommala Colony in Tirupati on Monday. Some residents of the colony do business for crores of rupees every year during the Vinayaka Chavithi season. Photo: K.V. Poornachandra Kumar

A.D. Rangarajan

Bommala Colony buzzing with activity as idol makers get busy

  • Eco-friendly paper pulp and tapioca pulp is being used
  • Easy to carry, install, even dissolve during immersion
  • Sells across State and parts of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka

    TIRUPATI: This sleepy colony springs into action during this season every year and nets a cool Rs. 4 crores in just four months. Not just this, the end products adorn street corners in almost all major cities of the State and parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

    Bommala Colony in Mangalam on the outskirts of Tirupati is known as second Dhoolpet as buyers from cities as far as Vijayawada, Rajahmundry, Guntur, besides Coimbatore, Pondicherry, Kolar, Bellary and Bangalore throng here.

    Nestled under the verdant Tirumala hills, the colony has adopted plaster-of-paris (PoP) idol making as a full-time profession as none of the residents in the 40 plus houses here has adopted any other means of livelihood. After the festival season, they make PoP images of Lord Venkateswara that are sold as hot cakes on the hills.

    The speciality of the idols made here is in its eco-friendly ingredients. While common PoP used elsewhere does not dissolve in water easily causing stagnation and health hazards during the immersion ceremony, these idol makers use paper pulp and powdered PoP discarded after use in ceramic industry that gets easily dissolved.

    A pulp of tapioca, specially brought from Coimbatore, is used as adhesive that adds to the eco-friendly nature of the product.

    As many as 40 workers have descended here from Chidambaram, Villupuram and Tiruvannamalai areas of Tamil Nadu to slog it out round-the-clock.

    Price range

    The tallest idol of the elephant-headed God made here measures 15 feet and weighs around 800 kg. Depending on the novelty of the concept, the idols used in residential colonies and street corners sell for anything between Rs. 12,000 and Rs. 16,000.

    Idol makers `present' Lord Vinayaka in various postures and myriad colours. The new mould prepared this year is of Vinayaka seated on two bulls, two lions, Kamadhenu, and even on Hanuman's lap!


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