BENGALURU : Karnataka is the state with the maximum number of Ganesha temples, says M Lokeswara Rao, a retired Indian Forest Service officer. This, he says was one of the reason he has chose to document the ten-day festival — making of idols to immersion — through photographs. “Artisans put in much effort into making statues for months. I have photographed the whole process from statue making till immersion in different parts of the country including Hyderabad, Mumbai, Sangola Maharashtra and Bengaluru,” says the 62-year-old.
He is showcasing 30 photographs from his collection of over 500 pictures, which he has been taking since 2008. “When I was working in Hyderabad, there was a place near my office where PoP idols were made. Preparations would start earlier in the year. Before transporting idols, people pray to the Lord, break coconuts and apply chandan. That’s the ritual.
Which is how I got the idea and decided to click pictures,” he says, adding, “The idols are brought to the homes, podiums or pandals are installed before they do prana pritishta (ritual wherein hymns and mantras are recited to invite the deity to be the guest). People also auction the laddu that is kept in Ganesha’s hands. They believe that ‘prasad’ will bless them with prosperity,” he says, pointing out that the best places to experience the festival are Mumbai, followed by Hyderabad.
The challenge was to get natural photographs, which meant that he had to click the pictures at the right time, so that it “weaves into a story by itself.” I had to click them without the knowledge of the people who make, decorate, load and unload these idols, so that it looks natural,” he says. However, the series will not display many pictures of immersion, the reason being — “They decorate the idols so beautifully and then throw them into water.
It pollutes the environment. Hence, I decided not to put these pictures on display,” says Rao, an advisor to the National Highways of India, who has also been into Tanjore paintings for the past several years. The show is from September 11 to 13, 7 pm, at Belaku Gallery Rangoli Art Centre, MG Road.