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Eco-sensitive Ganesh festival this year in Tirupati

Vinayaka Chaturthi is that part of the year when there is fervour to showcase one’s devotion in the form of ebullient display of huge idols, with vanity overtaking sanity and display of wealth overshadowing solemnity. But things are set to change for good in Tirupati.

The festival is all about syncing with nature with the offerings comprising leaves, grass, herbs and flowers, but it has, of late, transformed into a show of fun and frolic. Artificiality is consciously imbibed, right from the statue’s size to the decoration of the pandal or even in the quantum of the prasadam offered. The temple city is going gaga as the festival also coincides with the first day of Tirumala Srivari Brahmotsavam.

Though the craze is to make taller idols, the Tirupati Vinayaka Festival Committee comprising civic authorities and social activists has vetoed the idea by restricting all idols to 10 feet. The dwindling water level in the Vinayaka Sagar has led the civic body to desilt and fill it up artificially for immersion. As Tirupati is going to be ‘Plastic-free’ from October 2, MCT Commissioner V. Vijayarama Raju hopes this fest to be a precursor, wherein all plastic decorative materials are replaced by cloth banners and festoons.

As is the annual practice, Central Tourism’s former Director T. Surendra Kumar Reddy and Chandragiri MLA Chevireddy Bhaskar Reddy have distributed clay idols to devotees. In Kadapa, Collector Ch. Hari Kiran took up the free distribution. Apart from eye-catching deities and colourful paper umbrellas, the commercial hub of Gandhi Road and Chinna Bazar are abuzz with the sale of sugarcane, bananas, green leaves and shoots.

No fancy idols

The festival has always given wings to creators wherein the elephant-headed god is depicted in myriad forms and issue-based themes. When onion prices rose, Ganesha was shown as selling onions and he carried a ‘Linga’ on his shoulder when ‘Baahubali’ was released. “More than devotion, people derive a vicarious pleasure by creating such idols, which play with the sentiments of the devout. I request all to shun such fancy ideas,” festival committee convener Samanchi Srinivas told
The Hindu
, assuring that the festival would be held in the traditional way this year.

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