Among the materials that are used to make Ganeshas, white marble is a favourite material. These Ganeshas are used more for worship in home altars/ shrines, public shrines, in lobbies of corporate offices, hospitals, than as decorative items. In Mumbai there are many shops that sell these marble Ganeshas, along with idols of other Gods.
A visit to one such shop ”Sri Sai Murti Art “ in Goregaon (E) of Mumbai showed that the variety in terms of size and design of Ganesha idols seem to be more than that of any other God. Some of these idols are custom made according the buyers requirement.
The varieties of marble that are usually used are Makhrana marble that is available in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Italian, Australian marble that is imported for making Ganeshas and other Gods like Krishna, Durga, Rama, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman. Black marble is used only for making Shivlings, and Nandi (Shiva’s mount).
The idols that are created in this shop vary from 1ft to 4, 6 feet in height. Sometimes 10 ft to 12ft idols too are created based on the requirement. The cost is proportionate to the size and varies from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 60,000. Also the rates are dependent on the finishing quality that is required by the buyer.
Most of the idols are roughly carved out of single pieces of marble in Jaipur, Rajasthan and then brought to the Mumbai shop. The finishing touches are added here in the shop or at a workshop that is attached by skilled workers like the boy Amar (seen in the pictures), using chisels of varying sizes and buffing tools. Sometimes these white marble idols are hand painted in various colours especially the facial features, ornaments and clothing details, as per the buyers need.
These marble carving skills come from years of practice and most of these skilled artisans start learning them from a young age. These skills are usually passed down the generations. They usually adhere to traditional forms of the Gods, as is known from the sacred texts.
It is obvious from the serene looking idols that there is a sense of belief with which these artisans work, or they would not be able to create such wonderful expressions which invoke faith. These artisans believe that that they are doing sacred work for the Gods so there is a sense of deep satisfaction in them.
Following pictures show the array of marble Ganeshas and other Gods that are available in this shop. The sheer number of them stacked on dusty shelves indicates that there is a constant demand for such idols.