Although the cost of idols, flowers and decorations have increased significantly this year, Mumbaiites are not holding back their spending on the city’s most extravagant festival.
For 64-year-old Jayshree Malvi’s family, Ganeshotsav is a 124-year-old tradition. “We have guests for 10 days,” said Malvi, an architect, who has been buying the idol from the same artist for years. “Every year, the cost of the idol increases by Rs 200 to Rs 300. But you don’t ask why the price increased in good faith,” she said. There is also the expense of flowers and decoration. “I buy a lot of flowers. On the first day I must have spent Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000. And as they wither out, I’ll buy again,” said Malvi. Sweets, which are integral to the festival, are made at home. “I have not calculated how much I spend every year, but it must have increased by 10% every year. I call for a special cook to prepare sweets, whose labour cost has also increased,” said Malvi, adding that only the quantity of sweets has decreased.
Lepana Nagaraj, 18, whose family has been observing the puja at home ever since her birth, said they customise the decorations every year. Nagaraj, a student and a model, said cost of the idol has also gone up, she said. “This year, the ganesh idol cost Rs 3,564 and the gauri idol cost Rs 1,800. Last year, both had cost us Rs 3,200 totally,” said Nagaraj. With a steep rise in rates, flowers cost Rs 5,000 more while decoration cost Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,000 more. For Nagaraj, the overall cost this year has touched Rs 24,000 to Rs 25,000 compared to Rs 15,000 to Rs 18,000 last year.
More than 70km away from Mumbai, in Neral, 33-year-old Sharvari Tare, a freelance creative visualizer, says her family, which has been following the tradition for 40 years recently went eco-friendly. Tare, who will worship the idol for five days, said of the 125 households in her area, around 100 bring Ganesha idols home. Including the cost of idol, sweets, lights, decoration and food, this year her family will be spending Rs 25,000, up from Rs 16,000 last year.
Devotees throng to buy decorative items for Ganesh Chathurti festival at APMC Market in Navi Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, September 12, 2018.
(Bachchan Kumar / HT Photo )
People such as Malvi, Nagaraj and Tare, irrespective of their age and economic status, will be contributing to the revenue generated during the festive season. The estimated revenue generation from Ganeshotsav in India was pegged at Rs 20,000 crore in 2015, according to a report by industry body Assocham. The city’s most revered idol Lalbaugcha Raja contributes a large chunk to this. “We end up spending nearly Rs 4 crore,” said Balasaheb Kamble, president, Lalbaugcharaja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal. He adds that every year, prices increase by nearly 10%.
Chinchpoklicha Chintamani will spend around Rs 12 lakh, says Vasudev Sawant, secretary of Chinchpoklicha Chintamani Ganeshotsav mandal. Last year, the cost was around Rs 8 lakh. He adds that including marketing cost, total expenses will touch Rs 25 lakh this year.
First Published: Sep 13, 2018 10:00 IST