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Time Out's quick guide to this year’s Ganesh festival
ganesha, ganpati visarjan, ganesh idols, immersion, sprouts earth shop,

Buy a green Ganpati
Last-minute shoppers can opt for eco-friendly Ganesh idols at The Sprouts Earth Shop that sources green idols from traditional artisans who fashion idols without using plaster of Paris or spray paint. Fashioned out of river clay and hand-painted with natural colours, these idols disintegrate the moment they are immersed. Also available are papier-mâché Ganesh idols made from recycled notebooks that have Ram and Krishna written on them. Sprouts director Anand Pendharkar said that the requirement for green Ganeshas far outstrips the supply. “Earlier, the demand was for smaller idols, but we’ve now been getting orders for bigger ones.” The first step towards eco-friendliness, he added, was to buy a smaller idol. In which case the palm-sized idols at Eco Corner should do the trick. Omved’s collection is made out of natural materials such as terracotta, coconuts and nontoxic herbal dyes.
Sprouts Earth Shop, Pawar Shops, Rani Sati Marg, Malad (E) (+91 22 2878 4889). Mon-Sun 10.30am-9pm. R400-3,500.
Omved, Palladium Mall, Phoenix Mills, Lower Parel (+91 22 3004 2350). Daily 11am-9pm. R50 onwards. Eco Corner, Grand Galleria, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel (+91 22 4004 8218). Visit a complete list of locations. Mon-Fri 10am-9pm, Sat-Sun 10am-9.30pm. R200.

Make your own
Kids can compete to create the potbellied god in clay at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya on Sat Aug 20, 2011. This competition is for children between 8 and 15 years and the best models will be on display at the museum. The last date to register is Aug 18, but on-the-spot registrations may be allowed.

Everyone can put their hands to good use at Bombay HUB and Eco Mantra’s annual eco-friendly Ganesh-making workshop on Sat Aug 27, 2011. Participants will sculpt tiny idols from clay and paint their idol with natural colours. The workshop is open to all age groups and will be conducted by experts from the JJ School of Art.

Come with your child and mingle with underprivileged youngsters and visually challenged children at a Ganesh-making workshop organised by the Museum Society of Bombay at CSMVS on Sat Sept 3, 2011.
Visitors’ Centre Auditorium, CSMVS, MG Road, Colaba (+91 22 2284 4519). Churchgate (WR), CST (CR Main & Harbour). Museum. 10.30am-12.30pm. R50.
The Hub, Fourth Floor, Candelar Building, 26 St John the Baptist Road, near Mount Mary Steps, Bandra (W). Call +91 22 6128 0100. 3-5pm. R500. Visitors’ Centre Verandah, CSMVS, MG Road, Colaba (+91 22 2284 4519). Churchgate (WR), CST (CR Main & Harbour). Museum. Call Anita Rane Kothare on +91 98211 96040. 10am-12.30pm. R200.

Things to do
Eco-friendly Vakratund Mela
Check out over a thousand Ganesh idols made from bamboo, betel nut and wood at this exhibition organised by Nirmitee Art Gallery. The store aims to promote the celebration of an eco-friendly Ganesh Chaturthi.
Mon-Sun. Until Sept 4. 11am-8pm. Nirmitee Art Connoisseurs, 4/5, Khosravi Estate, SK Bole Road, near Portuguese Church, Dadar (W) (+91 22 2422 9139, +91 22 2422 3655). Dadar (CR Main, WR). Portuguese Church.
Lanes of Lalbaug is a walk organised by tourism firm Beyond Bombay that takes you through the home of Mumbai’s most iconic Ganpati idol, the Lalbaugcha Raja. The trail begins at the defunct Ganesh Talkies, which now houses an idol-making workshop, and passes through narrow lanes named Masala Galli, Chiwda Galli and Farsaan Galli. During the Ganpati festival, the ground floors of the chawls in Ganesh Galli, built by mill owner Mathuradas Kamaladas for his employees in 1899, are converted into workshops for Ganpati idol painters. Check them out before they are razed to make room for high-rises. The tour runs every Sunday until Sept 4.
Call Shriti Tyagi on +91 98677 64409 or email [email protected]. 10.15am-Noon. R700 for adults, R350 for children from 8 to 15 years.

The making of God is a photography exhibition by Rajeev Rai featuring the craftsmen who convert their homes into makeshift studios four months ahead of the festival. The Ganesh idols are covered in plastic sheets so that they aren’t damaged by the water seeping in from leaky roofs. The photos depict artists clambering all over the Ganesh idol because, for them, it only turns into an object of worship after the final touches are complete.
Thur Sept 1 onwards. Daily Noon-8pm. Piramal Gallery, National Centre for the Performing Arts, Nariman Point (+91 22 6622 3737). Churchgate (WR), CST (CR Main & Harbour). NCPA.

Ganesh Festival at Soul Art Models of the city’s favourite god playing cricket and hanging out with his mouse buddy and transport service will be on view at this exhibition. One sculpture shows him in the centre of a troupe of mice with each mouse playing an Indian instrument such as a sitar or a tabla.
Daily 11am-9.30pm. Soul Art, G-55, Ground Floor, Kohinoor Mall, off LBS Marg, Kurla (W) (+91 22 2503 9880). Kurla (CR Main, Harbour). Kohinoor Mall.

Watch the immersions
Girgaum Chowpatty is the venue for the biggest and best idols. Aim to park your beam at the Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak Udyan right on the beach, but make sure you’ve found a place near the three-foot hedge for the best views. Otherwise, there’s always the fetching promenade at the end of Chowpatty Bandstand, with its nineteenth-century white heritage mast, seats and railings to prevent the uncoordinated from toppling over. Senior citizens can go to the beachfront Nana-Nani Park. If you can’t make it to the beach head, park yourself at the appropriately named Café Ideal (beer won’t be served on Anant Chaturdashi, which is a dry day). The better view is from the terraces above the restaurants but these are privately-owned buildings, so unless you can win over the residents of Phoolchand Mansion or Marina Mansion, forget it.

At Dadar Chowpatty in Shivaji Park, the Café Coffee Day on Cadell Road offers a good view. If you don’t want to chase the idols into the sea, your best bet is the promenade starting from the Chaityabhoomi, the memorial for Dr BR Ambedkar. It’s a stretch not longer than a quarter of a kilometre and it gives you a clear view of both sides of the beach. You could also try the Chinese Garden next to the promenade and, in the lane leading from it, the Baji Prabhu Deshpande Udyan. Both were built at an elevation.

The best view of the immersions at Juhu Chowpatty used to be from the now defunct Sea View Café. At Juhu, there is no protection from the manic multitudes. Roll up your salwars and trousers and wade right in.

By Time Out on November 17 2011

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