Indore: For Ganesh Chaturthi, people have come up with creative eco-friendly ideas to prepare sweets to celebrate the festival in honour of the god who is said to relish sweets, especially modaks. Indore-based Nidhi Sharma who has been fashioning idols of Lord Ganesha from chocolate for the last three years has continued with the tradition this year too.Also Read - Ganesh Chaturthi 2021: Odisha Artist Creates Ganpati Idol With Over 5000 Matchsticks
Another artist from Ludhiana, Harjinder Singh Kukreja has also been using Belgian chocolate to make Ganeshas in his Ludhiana-based shop and he says that with this he aims to spread awareness about celebrating the festival in an eco-friendly manner. Sharma always picks a theme for making the idols. Last year while the theme was coronavirus, this time she has focussed on vaccinations while making the chocolate Ganeshas. To make her idols, she pours chocolate into a mould that is shaped like Lord Ganesha.
“I have been making Lord Ganesha idols for three years. Last time, I made an idol based on the theme of the Covid-19 pandemic. This time around, the aim is to raise awareness among people about Covid-19 vaccination, which is extremely important for everyone right now,” Nidhi said.
She added, “To depict this theme, I have put two syringes representing two doses of vaccine in a ‘modak’ made out of chocolate. The message is that at this point, the vaccines are God’s prasad. I have also got a mouse, which is wearing a mask. It highlights the importance of wearing a mask irrespective of one’s vaccination status. I have also depicted a Lord Ganesha seated on a Covid-19 vaccine bottle.
“With these messages, she said she aims to do their bit in raising awareness about the Covid-19 vaccination and preventing the third wave of the pandemic by encouraging people to get themselves vaccinated without any hesitation. Ludhiana-based Kukreja says that with his chocolate Ganesha idols, he aims to send a message to people, that festivals can be celebrated in eco-friendly ways. These chocolate Ganesha idols are immersed in milk.
He has tied up with the Robin Hood Army, a non-profit organization, to distribute the chocolate milkshake to children from low-income families living in slums. “I have been making these Chocolate Ganesha idols for the last six years. My aim is to tell people that festivals can be celebrated in an eco-friendly way. Another aim is to connect children with the festivals and culture of our country. They are immersed in milk and the chocolate milkshake is distributed to children from low-income families living in slums as a part of my tie-up with an organization,” Kukreja told ANI.
In 2016, Kukreja got in contact with a sculptor who worked with chefs to make idols. Now, these idols are made by the in house chefs of the shop. 200 kgs of Belgian Dark Chocolate is used in making an idol by 10 skilled chefs over 10 days. “It is not an easy task. We do a lot of planning and thinking over the structure of the idol for one and a half months. The last 10 days have been really hectic for us. If anything breaks or is out of place, the team has to start all over again. But when you are passionate about something, even the challenges become fun,” he added.
With his chocolate Ganesha, he aims to connect the children with the festivals and culture of India. He also wants to go for a world record related to chocolate Ganesha idols. “We would like to go for a national and an international record for the Chocolate Ganesha idol,” Kukreja said.
His chocolate Ganesha idols have got a great response from the customers. A customer named Soniya said, “I have seen chocolate Ganesha for the first time. It is a good initiative. It is eco friendly. It can be given to kids in form of chocolate milkshake after immersion.”
“I have seen Chocolate Ganesha for the first time, it is really good and something new. Kids love chocolate a lot. So these idols will make them aware of the festival,” said another customer named Bhupendra from Bihar.
“This year, I have got a couple from Delhi who will come here to witness and worship this idol. I am also well-known in Mumbai for my chocolate Ganesha, even the celebrities know me. I am known in many parts of the world because of my chocolate Ganesha and I am honoured to be associated with God in such a way,” said Kukreja.