What can bring together the Ganesha festival, an eco-friendly celebration and a Prashad that will be loved by kids?
A chocolate Ganesha idol, of course!
Meet Harjinder Singh Kukreja, a restaurateur from Ludhiana, Punjab, who has been doing this for three years!
Harjinder believes that festivals should be celebrated consciously and that our joy should not cost the environment- neither in the short-term nor the long term. And so, he started making chocolate idols of Ganesha to promote this belief.
This year’s 65 kg idol took 20 bakers, chefs and chocolate sculptors and nearly ten days.
The idol is displayed at Kukreja’s Cafe in Punjab- a place that specialises in Belgian chocolate and has been catching the fancy of visitors for the past week.
Speaking to the Indian Express, Kukreja said, “It has been a complete team effort with twenty of my workers making it. 65 kilograms of dark chocolate imported from Belgium is the main ingredient. Edible golden colour was used to give final touches. Food wastage should be reduced in every way possible, so we are making edible Ganpati [for] three years.”
But this is not all.
On the tenth day of the festival, when the idol is traditionally immersed in a water body, Kukreja will do something different.
He explained, “There is nothing Hindu or Sikh about this festival. We all love Ganpati Bappa.
He is the God of good beginnings and brings good luck. More than communal harmony, the idea is to give a message of eco-friendly celebrations. We will be immersing [the] idol in milk, and after symbolic visarjan, chocolate milkshake will be distributed among underprivileged children.”
Back in 2015, a Mumbai-based designer had made a chocolate Ganesha, and just like Kukreja, distributed chocolate milkshake among underprivileged kids after immersion. Read her story here.
Unique efforts like these don’t just spread important messages like eco-consciousness and social responsibility, but also add to the joy of the festivals.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)