DHOOLPET, THE BIRTH PLACE OF GANESHA
year Ganesh Chaturthi, celebrations start on Bhadrapada,
Shukla Chaturthi (the fourth day of the Bhadrapada month
of the Hindu Almanac). In the twin cities Ganesh Chaturthi
begins with the installation of the Lord Ganesh idols
on the enmarked day and ends with immersion of the idols
in the Hussainsagar or near by water bodies, on the
tenth day from installation.
Though the festival is celebrated as community function
by installing large Ganesh Idols in the decorated pandals,
most of the Hindu families also install small idols
in their houses and perform puja for three to ten days.
Thousands of Ganesh idols are required to cater the
needs of the twin cities people during the festival.
Where and who make this many number of idols every year?
It is interesting to know that most of these idols are
made at Dhoolpet and its surroundings like Mangalhat,
Ganga Bowli, located in the old city of Hyderabad.
is a tiny locality, where more than a 100 families of
the Lodhi Kshatriya community are engaged in making
Ganesh idols of all sizes and shapes. They have been
doing this year after year. For generations together.
From one generation to the other, the art and skill
of making idols is passed on. Today, more than five
thousand men and women are earning their livelihood
from this idol-making industry.
It is estimated that every year, Dhoolpet artists collectively
make more than ten thousand idols, worth 3 to 5 crore
rupees. They not only supply the idols to buyers from
Hyderabad and Secunderabad but also to several of them
in neighbouring districts. Thousands of idols are in
finishing stages and they have been shifted to the temporary
sheds as there are no huge permanant sheds to accommodate
an idol is not an easy thing. There are no machines
to produce huge idols on a mass scale. Moreover the
buyers demand uniqueness and creativity. The artists
have to use their hands to mould the 'Plaster of Paris'
into a perfect Ganesh. 'A ten feet high idol takes 20
days; it can be sold for 10 thousand rupees', said Ganesh
Singh. He is one of the biggest producers of idols of
Dhoolpet. He is well known for making them in huge quantities
as well as in awesome sizes. He told us that he invests
2-3 lakh rupees in every season.
Talking about the changes in people's tastes, Ganesh
Singh said that, "earlier people used to buy whatever
kind of idol we made. But now times have changed. People
want us to make exclusive models for them. This is a
challenging task. To us, to our creativity and imagination.
But we are able to meet the challenges. I have made
a variety of Ganesh idols on different backgrounds.
Like that of Ganesh in the company of Shiridi Sai Baba,
Balaji and Mahadev."
Singh also revealed the intricacies in the method of
making idols. He said that the Dhoolpet artists use
coconut coir to reinforce the plaster of Paris and chalk
powder for giving finishing touches. They procure these
materials from local dealers. Generally, up to five
feet height idols can be produced with one mould. But
when come to making of huge idols like 10 to 15 in height,
Dhoolpet artists make the different parts of the idol
like legs, hands, body, face separately by using moulds.
" We start making these parts, prior to six months
from the date of festival. When the festival is just
one month away , we start assemble these parts to make
a complete idol. We paint colours and give finishing
touches to the idol just one or two days before the
delivery," added Ganesh Singh.
Nowadays some Bengali artists are also making Ganesh
idols. Unlike the Dhoolpet artists they use mud, grass
and sticks. They also make lavish use of materials like
thermocol and other fancy items to make the idols look
more attractive. Prithviraj Singh, one of the statue
maker, famous for making huge idols of 10 to 15 feet
said, " earlier people were crazy for the huge
idols ranging between 15 to 20 feet. Since, police authorities
banned the making and installation of huge idols, people
now going for the attractive designs made by the Bengali's.
This trend is eating out our business. But we are helpless."
to Ganesh Singh, though thousands of people are involved
in this industry, it has not yet been taken in on the
list of the small scale industries. Because of this,
the banks and the financial institutions are unable
to lend a helping hand to meet their financial needs.
As a result, the Dhoolpet artists are forced to borrow
from private financiers, who charge a whopping ten per
cent interest per month. Most of the profit earned by
the Dhoolpet artists goes into the pockets of these
These artists toil 12 hours a day, throughout the year,
to make Ganapati, Durga Devi and Bhagwan Shankar. They
enjoy their creative and aesthetic work. But the blessings
of the gods and goddesses for making a comfortable living
continues to elude them.
about the first Vinayak Chaviti in Hyderabad