Environmental concerns outlaw Ganesh immersions in India
The immersion of murtis (images) of the Hindu elephant headed god Ganesh during the annual Chaturi festival have been outlawed in Tamil Nadu due to concerns that chemicals used in the creation of the statues will contaminate ground and sea water. The popularity of immersing such idols has grown in recent years. I have heard that the Hindu community in my home, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, has bathed at least one murti of Ganesh in the North Saskatchewan river to celebrate this festival. This is practice is a spectacular example of Hindu bhakti devotional practice, demonstrating a beautiful ritual interplay between humanity and the divine. As it would be tragic if this practice were to cease entirely, perhaps the solution is simply to ensure that the immersed images do not leach any contaminates into the water.
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