24 June, 2021

Craft Sans Obstacles

A town specialises in fashioning Ganesha idols

Rahul Surve
Craft Sans Obstacles
Nestled peacably in the Sahyadris, skirting the Konkan coast, lies the sleepy town of Pen. Like many such towns, its landscape is a familiar mosaic of farmland, tile-roofed houses, thatch-roofed huts, winding paths and one central road with specks of commerce. But what makes Pen, two hours from Mumbai, different is that it is the Ganesha capital of India. Here, making Ganesha idols is a passion, a tradition, and a thriving industry.

Idols marked 'Made in Pen' enjoy a special prestige, and command higher prices than those crafted in Mumbai's Parel area. In Pen, every household, except those of the Dalits, is engaged in some way in the Ganesha industry. Pen now boasts of 500 units producing about five to six lakh Ganesha statues, with an auspicious turnover of nearly Rs 6 crore annually. Over a quarter of the Pen idols wing their way abroad every year, the rest find their place in discerning homes and in pandals across Maharashtra during the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

"I am the fourth generation to be doing this," says Shrikant...

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