Rain threat on Vijayadashami worries Ravana makers

Most makers of the Ravana effigies in Bhopal have been working overtime to guard their creation against rain through an extended monsoon this year. 

Bhopal: More than an armour the demon king Ravana here would need a raincoat in his battle with Lord Ram this Vijaya Dashmi on Tuesday.

Most makers of the Ravana effigies in Bhopal have been working overtime to guard their creation against rain through an extended monsoon this year. They have covered the effigies with polythene sheets. Waterproof sheets have been pasted on the entire exterior of the effigies to ensure they render the spectacular value.

The tallest effigy in the state at 105 feet, however, is not only waterproof it is also expected to deliver digital fireworks. The extravaganza at Kolar in South Bhopal is going to cost Rs 20 lakh, says Kolar Hindu Utsav Samiti president Ravindra Yati.

The main rival to the Kolar show is in Bittan Market where the Ravana effigy is going to be 57 feet tall. The effigies lose height by a foot every year to symbolise reduction of evil in the world, says Sanjay Vyas of the Utsav Samiti.

Indore, the commercial hub of the state, witnesses the Dashmi revelry on a much larger scale. But regular showers have played spoilsport this year. Last Thursday`s storm and rain threw life out of gear and Ravana makers were among the worst sufferers. Despite all this, the organisers at most venues promise great shows.

Against an average annual rainfall of 1,090 mm Bhopal has witnessed 1,750 mm, and rains is still pouring. The Met office has predicted another week of rain. Unlike in the past, the showers have been frequent and heavy, and have left Ravana makers with lots of repair work to do.

Most effigies are made of bamboo strips, jute ropes, paper and rags that are unlikely to dry up completely after the kind of soaking heavy rains have caused this year. In many cases this could lead to more smoke than fire when set on fire. More importantly, in many cases the firecrackers packed inside the effigies might not cause the fireworks on the D-day if rainwater seeps into the structure.

For the past few years there has been an increasing demand for small effigies as indulgent parents seek to create the scene in the private confines of their courtyards or the street-sides. That has given a big turnover in the Ravana-making cottage industry with more than 50 workshops spread over the city. Larger effigies are made to order by the festival committees that have sprouted in many localities.

Most Durga pandals in the city have also been affected by the showers, but the shows have gone on with same fervor.

Due to the boat capsize that took 12 lives during the immersion of Ganesh idols the administration was on its toes as the Durga immersion on Tuesday. The police and Municipal authorities had banned the immersion in the upper and lower lakes. But the BJP-led opposition raised the issue, suggesting that the administration has been harsh on Hindu festivities.

With the task of immersing 2,000 idols at 21 places the authorities have their hands full. The state government has been toying with the hydraulic equipment to ensure safe immersion.

With each unit costing over Rs 40 lakh the government was in two minds about outright purchase. However, an enterprising mechanic Ashfaq Khan came up with an innovation of sliding platform that would facilitate quick immersion of the tall idols. The three platforms are going to cost Rs lakh each.

With a high number of idols to be immersed, the event is expected to continue till late evening on Wednesday.