TV actor Anuj Sachdeva on Thursday visited an elephant rescue centre for which he has raised Rs 100,000.
Anuj took up the initiative to make Ganesh Chaturthi festivities unique.
While he has been bringing the lord Ganesh idol to his place for the last two years, this year he decided to donate funds to Wildlife SOS, an NGO which runs the Elephant Conservation and Care Centre in Mathura, which houses 22 rescued elephants.
He calls this initiative 'Helping the Living Ganesha'.
Through this initiative, he set a fundraising target where he aimed at raising Rs 100,000 in ten days.
Celebrities like Juhi Chawla, Ramesh Taurani Lovey Sasan, Nisha Rawal and several animal lovers came forward to support the project.
"For the last few years, I have seen the 'tamasha' that happens in the name of celebration. Adding to this is the pollution we cause in our environment by setting up plaster of Paris idols, and then immersing them in the sea, thereby harming marine life," Anuj said.
He decided that this time around, he would make a difference.
"I was contemplating whether I should keep the idol this year and then a thought crossed my mind that instead, I should dedicate this year to the majestic elephants," said Anuj, who did his research and got to know of Wildlife SOS through its online website.
He got in touch with the NGO and decided to help their rescued and rehabilitated elephants.
On meeting his target of Rs 100,000, he came to Mathura to meet the majestic pachyderms. He visited Wildlife SOS's Elephant Conservation & Care Centre for an interactive session with the Wildlife SOS staff to get an insight about their efforts in conserving India's wildlife and the rescued animals in their care.
This was followed by a tour of the facility where he had a nice time feeding and bathing the elephants and even heard some interesting stories about the elephants from their keepers (mahouts).
"Before the start of every Ganesh Chaturthi, we always plan on how to celebrate the festival differently each year. This is perhaps the most unique celebration you will come across and I would like to express my gratitude towards all the supporters who were a part of this," Anuj said.
Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder of Wildlife SOS, said: "Wildlife SOS is extremely happy to have television actor Anuj Sachdeva support us by raising funds for our rescued and rehabilitated elephants during this wonderful festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, and for spreading awareness about the plight of elephants in India.
"All 22 of our rehabilitated elephants have shocking stories of the circumstances from which they were rescued. Today, these majestic creatures are adjusting to a life of freedom and peace, in a place where they can spend their days happily, with frequent baths, a nutritious diet, and good veterinary care."
Anuj has been a popular face on TV, and was recently seen in Swaragini. In the past, he has done lead roles in Sabki Laadli Bebo, Chhanchhan and Itti Si Khushi. He has also done films, including Amole Gupte's Hawaa Hawaai.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)