For the people of Thattathara, near Vadakkanthara, this year’s Ganesh Chaturthi festival will be a green one in all respects.
A group of people under the banner of the Thattathara Anappremi Sangham have rearranged the Ganesha festival in such a way as to create environmental awareness without compromising religious beliefs.
They made a five-ft tall Ganesha statue with clay, coconut husk and nine types of grains (navadhaanya), which will be harmless to freshwater sources in the region.
The Ganesha is being kept and worshipped in a makeshift hall, where people coming to pray get a lesson in environment protection. The hall is arranged in such a way as to give awareness of how people should treat their environment by reducing the use of plastic and by planting more trees.
“Time has come for us to revaluate our religious activities and make them environment-friendly without compromising the beliefs,” said N. Shiv Shankar, a bank employee, who is leading the green festival along with S. Prabhu, a medical representative.
They displayed cloth bags in the puja hall, giving the message to replace plastic bags. Plastic bottles were upcycled to grow and protect saplings. “We are using many discarded non-biodegradable products by upcycling them to support sustainable activities,” said Mr. Shiv Shankar.
Seeds and tree saplings are the prasadam at Thattathara. “We are giving away saplings of fruit-bearing trees aiming to give shelter for birds and small animals like squirrels,” he said.
Seeds of vegetables to encourage organic farming are also given away. Children in the village have made small Ganeshas in clay by embedding seeds inside them.
Mr. Prabhu and Mr. Shiv Shankar said that they would restrict the procession through the village in such a way that no traffic block would be created.
The immersion will take place in the nearest river at Jainimedu. “We are planning to give away saplings to people coming to watch the procession,” they said.