Ganesh Chathurthi: The foundation of my design praxis.

5/31/20242 min read

In Maharashtrian culture, we start anything new by chanting the name of Ganesha, the elephant-headed god. Growing up in a Marathi household in Thane, a city in Maharashtra (right next to the financial capital of India, Mumbai), this particular god (amongst the millions in Hinduism) is special. He has been a major influence on my design practice.

Every year the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on a massive scale in Mumbai and my family does our humble bit too.

Designing the Makhar¹.

Designing the Makar was something we (me and my family) always focused on since my childhood. As I reflect, I would credit this process to be the foundation of my design praxis.

In my early years, we made the Makhar by using materials like Polystyrene, power tools like heat guns, and more. Me and my twin sister had very little contribution as we could barely hold a full conversation. We were more of fly-on-the-wall observers during this time.

As we progressed in our school years, the makhar-making committee (my family) began acknowledging our creative directions and there was a new age of novel artistic expression. We also switched to the use of sustainable materials and banned the use of Polystyrene altogether.

In recent years, I have introduced technology into the mix. Sketches are transformed into 3d models to help visualize the space better and so on.

You can say that the process of making the makar is the epitome of participatory design. Bouncing off ideas and articulating some of them into a solid structure is something I look forward to every year.

For the past few years, I have been designing artifacts for the festivities. T-shirts, publications, and badges just to name a few. But that is a story for another blog.

Thanks for reading!

¹A Ganesh makhar is a decorative frame or throne specifically used to house an idol of Lord Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival celebrating his birth.

Ganapati makhar designs at my home in the recent years.