India celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi at home

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BY SIDDHI JAIN
New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS)
Covid-19 has caused travel restrictions and social distancing, but also a deeper appreciation for the environment among many. Celebrating festivals with enthusiasm and fervour at home, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are just the latest to have gone eco-friendly.
According to Snapdeal, shoppers are buying idols and other essentials for the festival. As Indians celebrate in private ceremonies at home, the platform witnessed a 6X increase in the sale of small Ganesh idols over last year. The increase in the sale of idols is due to the hesitance to visit conventional markets. Many families have also planned to bring Ganesha home as many mandals have cancelled the mass pandal celebrations due to the pandemic.
This year, the e-commerce site also saw an accelerated adoption of environmentally friendly Ganesh idols made of cow dung, natural soil, clay, and other sustainable materials. Some idols are also filled with seeds and grow into plants when immersed in a vase or garden while others act as manure to plants. The idols are attractive and do not leave a chemical trail harming the environment.
The commonly used idols are made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) and are decorated with paints having high lead and mercury content. The materials are extremely harmful to the water bodies and deteriorate the marine ecosystem.
Forty-five percent of orders for the festival on the site came from Maharashtra. Some of the other states from where Snapdeal received a high volume of orders were Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi NCR.
Decoration items such as LED lights, rangoli stencils, lamps, torans, and wall hangings have also been bought. Pooja items such as ghee diya batti, puja set combos, brass and aluminum diyas, incense sticks, dhoop, and aarti thalis were among the other top sellers.
Small traditional musical instruments including manjeera and dholkis are also being bought along with Bluetooth speakers to make the houses reverberate with melodious devotional songs and aarti dedicated to Lord Ganesha.

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