Why do Hindus Immerse their Gods & Goddesses? 21


The day after Hartalika, we took our husband’s made of sand to the lake to immerse them. Next week, on the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi, the Ganesh idols being worshiped in homes and communities across India, will meet the same watery fate.

Why do Hindus immerse their Gods & Goddesses?

Why throw idols which have the invoked spirit of God inside them into murky and polluted water?

Immersion of the statue is symbolic of our own life cycle, our bodies dissolve and we get fresh new ones when we are reborn. The clay returns to the bottom of the lake, destined to be dug up again the following year, and crafted into new idols. It is very important only clay idols are immersed as idols made from plaster of Paris cause pollution. It is said that eco-friendly immersion of the idols brings more good fortune, respecting the environment is a huge part of Hindu dharma (a complicated word to translate, it basically means ‘eternal law’).

This sentiment reminds me of the words, from the common book of prayer, spoken at a Christian funeral, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life”.

The fact that new idols are made every year is also symbolic of creation and supports the creators, the craftsmen and artists of India. We made our Shiva linga statues ourselves but during festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga Puja, thousands of idols are made and this supports the families of the men and women producing them.

Why Do Hindus Immerse Their Gods and Goddesses?

When we arrived at the lake to immerse our Shiva lingas, there were many other ladies already there immersing their husbands made of sand. Some singing songs and performing more rituals. With a small plop, our Shiva lingas returned to the lake until next year.  

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If you know of any other reason idols are immersed, please share below.


About Lauren Mokasdar

Lauren fell in love on the internet, took a one way flight from England, got married & started a new life & bicultural family in India. She writes about finding happiness & balance between two very different worlds, when her baby takes a nap.


21 thoughts on “Why do Hindus Immerse their Gods & Goddesses?

  • cynthia haller

    The big problem with Ganesh idols today is that they are no longer made of clay. Plaster of Paris is cheaper, and faster to mould idols of, these already no so environment friendly idols are then painted with paints that will leak toxic chemicals in the water as well, killing aquatic life every single years. Yet people continue to immerse these idols in water bodies leading to more pollution, despite activist groups and NGOs urging people to or buy environment friendly idols, or do a symbolic immersion in a bucket of water at home. While the tradition made sense, our modern ways have made it more harmful than good for the planet 🙁

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      Hey Cyn,

      It really is such a shame,
      I have seen the photos of the Ganesh pollution. I don’t see why people think it’s pious, I guess a lot of it is lack of education and wanting to show of the largest Ganesh with the least amount of money.

      I hope you are well <3 xxx

  • Hidden Passions

    I heard some where the most logical i thought was – The idea is to make “Clay” idols, decorated with locally available natural herbs (turmeric, basil leaves and some other herbs) and then immerse all of in a lake. Then lake would be dug to take out the excessive mud and the herbs (possibly anti-bacterial) will clean the lake and have better water to consume. That was back in those days but now it is all a big mess and I like many other environmental conscious person dislike the idea of new-modern-idols that get’s immersed in water left polluting them all over.
    So we get only clay molded idols to help protect environment in our own little way.

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      I really wish this was still the case. It would be really nice to try and make a Ganesh myself and family, for next year. Our idol is clay (and oh so heavy) but I still think the bright colours can not be good!

      I hope you guys are well!! xxx

  • divya bhim

    hi 🙂 its divya who e-mailed who some time ago again 😀
    I think the best translation of dharma (which still doesn’t do the word justice) is righteousness
    love you xo

  • s. anandakrishnan.

    clay ganesha is small. but here they are throwing 20 feet vinaayaka made by some chemicals and painted. it polluting water and also fishes. the vinayak idols are broken by waves and it reaches the bank in ugly shaape. i am a hindu. but i against this new system .
    there are many poor families. one ganesh costs 20000/-this many can be used for education andother useful cause.crores of rs. it is the system not traditional.

  • Roshni

    This is wonderful that you’re taking the trouble of understanding why certain rituals are performed…which is a lot more than many Hindus do!! 🙂
    Yes, the sentiments of both religions pretty much sync here, don’t they?!

  • adit

    You can make haldi idols of Ganesha the way Maa Parvati did 🙂
    We are following this tradition from generations…
    We mix haldi powder with edible gum powder and use water to make a dough then try giving it shape but Ganesha almost all the time forms himself in different forms 🙂

  • ila

    To an average westerner there are two major christian festivals namely Christmas and Good Friday symbolising birth of Jesus and Resurrection. In India, every month there is a some hindu festival. Before the Brits entered India, Every Village as a self contained mini republic, comprising of people with varied occupations that would be required for a society. For each festival some components of this society earns its living which sustains them throughout the year, some specific seasonal foods are served to provide adequate complete nourishment for the body in tune with the season of the year, above all an occasion of sharing of food and wealth takes place in some form or other. In Hinduism food is medicine and medicine is food. Diseases can be avoided by taking a specific diet (ayurveda) which is a paradigm shift from the western thinking. In Hindu way of life, every day from morning to evening every household activity conforms to a posture in Yoga ( a science that helps to prolong health life). Hence Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life that needs to be live and enjoyed. How to explain the sweet taste in words without tasting and enjoying, Hinduism is one such religion.It is a religion that is closest to nature. Every religion has its own aberrations and distortions so is hinduism which is difficult to be percieved, and understood from the western context.
    Hence, it is better to understand a religion and then make judgments friends.

  • Akshay

    Another interpretation of Visarjan is to move from the Form(Aakara
    to Formless(Niraakara). In festivals like Dassera, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc
    The Supreme Truth who is timeless, formless, attributeless and nameless
    comes to our household assumes a form to make us realise that we are also
    the same Supreme Truth. In vedas the line is Aham Brahmasmi
    , which means I am that Supreme Truth. Even though I can say rhis
    I have not realised it due to the Maaya. So when the Lord bids a goodbye,
    He indirectly says, “Dear Friend, dont get attached to the form of Mine or
    yours, as you like me are that Supreme Truth, which is not
    two but one and only one.” Its like school, in lower grades one is taught
    that 1+1=2, but its only in university one is taught why 1+1=2.
    The start is meditating on the Form, but destination is becoming
    Formless ourself. Thank you for the blog which made me write this.

    Akshay

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