Shadu Idols

Shadu is a kind of clay found in the river bank, mostly in the konkan region of Maharashtra. A traditional medium of making Ganesh idols, shadu clay is an eco-friendly way of making Ganesh idols. Shadu idols were worshipped in Maharashtra since centuries and there are still artists who only make shadu idols. Since it is entirely made of natural clay, shadu does not add to the pollution of the water. Shadu idols are the fastest idols to dissolve in the water compared to paper mache and PoP idols (According to an experiment conducted by Prof. Asolekar, IIT B). They are made from natural material hence do not harm to marine life.

However there are reservations among people to use shadu idols. The biggest concern is that since they are made of clay, these idols tend to break. Also unlike the PoP idols which are light, shadu idols are quite heavy making them difficult to transport long distances.

Ecologically though, there are other problems like the paint used on shadu idols is the same as used in PoP idols so even though the idol dissolves in the water, the paint still sticks to the idols giving out harmful chemicals to the water. Also there is the problem of removing soil from one part of and then depositing in another, causing damage to the original habitat due to huge numbers of idols immersed.

However, when compared to PoP idols, shadu idols are much better and there must be more awareness among the artisans to use eco friendly colours to reduce the impact.

Advantages of Shadu idols:

  1. Are natural do not cause water pollution
  2. Do not harm the environment
  3. Fastest to dissolve in water

Disadvantages of Shadu idols:

  1. Tend to break if not handled carefully.
  2. Is heavier than Pop idol.
  3. If regular paint used, still can cause pollution.


    (Picture courtesy-ecoexist)