India’s Elephant God Festival Returns in Jumbo Style

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MUMBAI, INDIA, August 30, 2022 ( Manilla Bulletin): Workers caked in plaster are putting the finishing touches to storeys-high statues of the elephant God Ganesha in time for one of India’s biggest religious festivals, now jumbo-sized again after Covid. The 11-day Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which draws tens of thousands of Hindu devotees onto streets across the seaside megacity of Mumbai, begins on Wednesday. For two years authorities restricted the heights of the statues to cut crowd sizes but now they can be 30 feet tall or more, requiring dozens of people to carry them. The festival climaxes with processions that end at bodies of water including the Arabian Sea to immerse the elephant Gods.

The giant statues are made from plaster of Paris — a durable and lightweight material that allows them to be easily transported via road. Most of the statues are carried from the workshops to the neighborhoods that order them on hand-pulled carts, kicking off hours-long street parties that attract thousands of dancing devotees.