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Royal Idol-Maker Carries Tradition Into 21st Century

on 2001/8/24 9:46:02 ( 1296 reads )


VADODARA, INDIA, August 20, 2001: Following a wish Maharaja Sayajirao III made to shun violence and be totally religious, six decades ago, master craftsman Krishnarao Chavan, stopped making Ganeshas that showed the deity killing the "Sindrasur" demon. "The Maharajas of the Baroda state always worshipped Ganesha icon that showed the Elephant God vanquishing the evil "rakshas" with one of his tusks. When Pratapsinhrao became the Maharaja, he wanted to respect Sayajirao's sentiments and changed the idol," says Mansingh Chavan, who continues the family tradition of crafting the Ganesha idol for the Gaekwad royal family. Mansingh recalls how Pratapsinhrao invited Brahmins from Kashi in 1939 to decide on a new icon that would be "more solemn." The model designed by Mansingh's father caught the fancy of the Maharaja. "It marked a major change in the family tradition." says Mansingh, who makes icons along with his brothers -- Lalsingh and Pradip - at their studio in the Khanderao Market area.

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