ANDHRA PRADESH

New trends take over ‘shobha yatra’

S. Harpal Singh



Earlier, idols were made of clay and of a size to be easily carried and immersed in local tanks

The devotees used to bring back some silt from the tank bed after immersion of the idols



ADILABAD: The disappearance of water bodies around Adilabad town over the last two decades has made locals go some distance to Chanda and Penganga rivers for immersion of Ganesh idols. This change has resulted in ignoring certain ‘green’ practices associated with the Ganesh festival here.

Until about two decades ago, the idols of Lord Ganesha, invariably made of clay and of a size to be easily carried physically, were immersed in local tanks and lakes. The devotees accompanying the ‘shobha yatra’ used to bring back a some panful of silt from the tank bed after immersion of the idol.

This practice was obviously meant to recompense the extra siltation of the water body caused by the clay of idols. The silt, believed to bring good luck to the devotee, was sprinkled in the courtyards and the granaries in individual households. The present ‘unwieldy’ size of the idols does not conform to the norms laid down in ‘shastras,’ according to experts in iconography. “The idols grew in size as Plaster of Paris is being used now. The idols made of this material were also found to be sturdy enough to withstand a journey of about 20 kms in lorries,” says writer B. Muralidhar about the changes that came in during the last few years. Another change in the community celebrations that the author points out is related to the current art and designing of the idols of Lord Ganesha and the cultural aspect associated with the festival. “Some artisans experiment with current themes while making the idols now,” he observes.

“In the past, artisans used to depict only those postures in the idols that were taken out from relevant religious books,” he adds. The bhajans and dances from the folk tradition are no longer seen during the festivities. Earlier, kolatam, bhajans by troupes used to be a speciality of the celebrations.

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