Visakhapatnam: Though Lord Ganesha is known only for one avatar, with their out-of-box thinking and creative touch the city youth have been setting up pandals showcasing Vinayaka in different forms and themes during Ganesha festival for the last few years. However, a few devotees and priests taking a strong exception to these unimaginable novelties that are coming to fore this year.
Just two days ago in Telangana State, putting up the idol of Lord Ganesha in the lap of Warangal Collector Amrapali Kata’s statute at the pandal has not gone down well with the devotees and triggered a controversy. Even some religious leaders have flayed the organisers of pandal for projecting Amrapali as Goddess Parvathi.
“It is taking a weird route of late as Lord Ganesha idols are being dressed up as various personalities to market their business products in the guise of celebrating festival,” said a priest of prominent Vinayaka temple in the city, who requested to remain anonymous.
On the other hand, a few persons, who install pandals every year, asked what was wrong in having Ganesha idols in various incarnations. “We take lot of interest to come up with a unique theme for pandal and Ganesha idol only attract devotees,” said Srinivas, who is an ardent devotee of Lord Vinayaka.
However, the organisers coming up with several themes of Ganesha idols that give mileage for film actors, politicians and businesses has been a bone of contention. “It is good that many business people and politicians have been generously donating for setting up pandals. There is no objection for putting up advertising boards and flexies of the sponsors. However, distortion of Ganesha idols with vested interests was unfair, the priest opined.
The priest also reminds that this festival celebration should be about devotion and spirituality towards Lord Ganesha and no one has a right to tarnish the image of Him by putting up the nasty idols.
Adding another perspective to the issue, some devotees also blame the donors for encouraging pandals which have large Plaster of Paris (PoP) Ganesha idols. “Despite huge campaigns to go for eco-friendly Ganesha festival by using clay idols, the sponsors have been playing a spoilsport by funding these big pandals,” said Aditya Madhav, who was involved with environmental campaigns.