Scanning the huge water tank at Ulsoor lake on the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi, I saw many murky shapes and shadows just beneath the surface of the water. This is where Ganesh idols of all sizes, some so huge they need to be lifted by crane, are submerged at the end of the 10-day festival.
Floating on the surface were flower garlands, plastic bags, chunks of plaster, pieces of wood and clumps of earth.
I also saw blotches of colour rising up to the surface. The municipality recommends that only idols made with natural colours be used, to avoid pollution of lakes with toxic metals used in paints.
Flower garlands and decorations are removed from the idols at the gate before they're carried in to be immersed in the water.
The effigies are made of clay or soil and dissolve easily once in contact with water. Here the BBMP workers are fishing out some of the bigger idols from the tank.
The job wasn’t easy. This statue seemed to be very heavy.
A mess of limbs, the stripped straw skeletons of the idols are piled up next to the water tank.
People come here to scavenge for firewood.
The authorities try to sensitise people to the environmental effects of this festival by issuing guidelines.
This blog post talks about the environmental aftermath of the Ganesh festival in Bombay where 100,000 idols are dumped into the sea every year!