Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Visiting Pen Maharashtra: the abode of Lord Ganesha

Pen Ganapati Idol
Many of the Ganapati idols which are sold in Mumbai, Pune and other places in Maharashtra are primarily from the town of Pen, Raigad. In fact, the idol makers from Pen are so well known that even a few NRIs from around the world order their Ganapati idols from Pen! It is not surprising, then, that Pen has got the tag of “Ganesha’s Idol Abode”. Since eons, entire generations of artisan families here have been painstakingly making idols of Lord Ganesha. It is not just a mere business bringing in earnings, but literally a fervent passion.
Pen Ganapati Idols

The reason why a Ganapati idol from Pen is much sought after is not hard to understand. The artisans who make the idols imbibe a kind of grace & serenity to the idol, so much so that it is believed one can see life in the idol’s emotive eyes. Even the colours used give a natural beauty to the idol. You will not see any idol with garish hues. There is the right mix of reds, yellows, greens and other colours – all seamlessly blending with each other. 

The clay used to create the Ganapati idols in Pen are either sourced from Mumbai or from other places like Surat. This clay is known locally as shadu. The entire process from creating the moulds to painting to the final finishing touches comprises of nearly two dozen steps. No step involves any hurried work. Each step is done meticulously with a lot of care. The clay idols range from 9 inches to 2 feet. 

Due to the increasing demand for larger and larger idols, many artisans also make idols from Plaster of Paris. This is a pity, as it means there are fewer artisans today creating clay idols and thereby eco-friendly idols are being taken over by gigantic idols made from materials which are harmful to Mother Nature. 

Many of the local artisans have come together under an umbrella organization of idol makers located in the area. This organization is known as Pen Murtikar Sanghatana.

To know more about how Ganapati idols are made, you should visit the Ganesha Idol Museum and Information Centre at Pen which has been set up by the Pen Municipal Council.

The best time to visit Pen is about 3-4 weeks before the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, when the local artisans make a wide variety of Ganapati idols for the festival.
Contact Information of Ganesha Idol Museum and Information Centre at Pen 
Ganesha Idol Museum and Information Centre, Pen
Pen Muncipal Council 
Sharad Pawar Bhavan, 2nd floor, Kotwal Chowk,
Pen - Raigad, Pin - 402107
Ph: 02143 – 252023 / 02143 – 252409 // Fax.: 02143 - 252183
Email - penmuncipalcouncil@yahoo.in

Timings: 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m. (closed on bank holidays). If you wish to organize a group visit with a large group of students or tourists, then you need to contact the centre 7 days in advance.

How to reach Pen from Mumbai
Pen is located on the banks of the Bhogavati creek in Raigad District, Maharashtra. The distance from Mumbai to Pen is about 83kms. You can either board a State Transport Bus which goes directly to Pen or board the Dadar Ratnagiri Passenger train from Mumbai. By road, Pen is located on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. 

Train information here: Mumbai to Pen passenger train


  1. Can we purchase ganesh murtis on line? and do you deliver them to other states?

  2. I am really impressed with your blog article, such great & useful knowledge you mentioned here.Your post is very informative. I have read all your posts and all are very informative. Thanks for sharing and keep it up like this.