Bhubaneswar: Lord Ganesh has been a constant feature in every Hindu household, be it at the Puja space or in the form of wall hangings, paintings, crafts and decorative statutes. Most people have a variety of Ganesh in their house in different forms and materials.
But a few have a penchant for collecting unique Ganesh idols. Collectors from Hyderabad and other cities have made it to record books as well.
Back home in Bhubaneswar, we too have one such enthusiastic Ganesh idol collector who has been pursuing this as a hobby for more than five years and now possesses a unique collection of nearly 3000 idols of Lord Ganesh. Most of them are unique in their own style, material used and size.
He is none other than Er. Kshitish B Swain, a civil engineer by profession whose hobby is to collect and keep Ganesh idols and other artefacts. The 58-year-old architectural engineering firm owner started pursuing this as a hobby in 2015 when his daughter gifted him a small Ganesh idol while leaving for the USA from Mumbai airport.
At less than an inch in height, that Ganesh idol is the smallest one amongst Khitish’s collection, which also showcases a 2-ft, 3-inch khondalite Ganesh idol weighing nearly a quintal. The materials used in these idols and images vary from different types of stones to brass, copper, steel, wood, paddy grains, coconut, terracotta, ceramic, charcoal, glass, silver filigree, dhokra, plastic, paper, lacquer, bamboo and many more.
All the idols have been nicely put up at an in-house gallery at his residence in Nayapally Brit colony here. However, he is yet to be exhibit this collection outside his house though he got the opportunity to do so at least a couple of times.
Khitish says he collects unique Ganesh idols wherever he visits and also makes sure to visit all exhibitions to look for it. Also, many friends, family members and well-wishers have sent him few of them after knowing his penchant for collecting Ganesh idols. A friend from Keonjhar sent him a Ganesh idol made of paddy grains while he himself got another one from an exhibition.
Many friends and acquaintances visit his place to see Khitish’s unique collection.
Khitish also collects artefacts and utility items featuring Lord Ganesh, like unique wedding gift envelopes, key rings, Ganesh dhokra shirt hangers, etc. Besides, he also has a good collection of old lanterns, playing cards, old newspapers, etc.