Saturday, August 11, 2007

Green Gods

Snehal Fernandes and Vijay Singh

With bhajans in the background and rich red-gold paper makhars on display, devotees of Ganesha thronged at Lalbaug’s Hirmani supermarket to choose the best paper makhar to house their Lord. Makhar have dominated the scene since 2001, the year they were introduced, but this year, there are trees, birds and monkeys too—all with a new entrant, Vanashree.

“Since we all have grown up among trees and birds, I decided to innovate Vanashree,” says Nana Saheb Shendkar, who pioneered paper makhars. Vanashree makhar depicts a wild jungle with birds and monkeys, and a tiny Ganpati idol placed in the middle it. Conceptualised by Shendkar, it took two months to design and manufacture the ‘green temple’. These paper makhars travel as far as Nashik, Indore and Bahrain.

A 30-year-old business in thermacol makhars, Shendkar experienced a huge blow when his thermacol factory went up in flames in 1999. That’s when he decided to go eco-friendly.

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