Pune: Usually, households and Ganpati Mandals use thermocol and plaster of Paris (POP) for making Makhars (decorative temples) for Ganpati idols. This has been causing pollution as devotees dump Makhars made from these materials along with solid waste.
To stop this pollution, Utsavi Trust, a company based in Mumbai, has stopped producing Makhars made from thermocol and POP since 2001. They produce Makhars made from cardboards, which are eco-friendly and can be recycled. These Makhars also have demand abroad.
“In 1947, we started producing decorative items such as Makhars for the Ganesh festival made from thermocol. Later, we realised that it was leading to environment pollution. We started producing Ganpati decorations made from cardboards, as it does not cause pollution.
Devotees can easily fold it and keep it for the next year,” said Nana Shendkar, the owner of Utsav Trust.
These Makhars were made available in Pune in 2001. Last year, around 1,000 pieces were sold.
There are various designs available, including Surya Makhar, Navrang Makhar, Siddhivinayak Makhar, Vanrai, Mayur Sinhasan, Raj Sinhasan and 3D Ganesh Mahal. These are available in sizes from 11 inches to 24 feet long.
“Big sets of Ganpati Makhar made from PoP are in the range of Rs 10 lakh while Makhars made from thermocol are available for Rs 5 lakh.
“The same sets made from cardboards are available at Rs 99,000 or less. We also prepare Ganpati idols made of newspapers. As they are very difficult to make, we produce them in small quantity. These Ganpati idols are only available in 1.5-inch size,” Shendkar said.
Cardboard Makhars have become so popular that customers from Pune, Rajasthan, Delhi and various other cities across the country and abroad are purchasing Makhars in bulk.