Conventional idol makers of Bengal return to Visakhapatnam earlier than Vinayak Chavithi


Artisans from West Bengal have returned after two difficult pandemic years and workshops are busy once more as Visakhapatnam sees a rising demand for clay Ganesh idols forward of Vinayaka Chavithi.

Artisans from West Bengal have returned after two difficult pandemic years and workshops are busy once more as Visakhapatnam sees a rising demand for clay Ganesh idols forward of Vinayaka Chavithi.

Queues of Ganesh idols await the tip at a workshop on the RP Peta Mahatma Gandhi Grandhalm in Visakhapatnam.

Leaning on the four-feet statue, Malay Khanra delicately coloured the eyes. At one nook, one other particular person sculpts flower patterns out of moist clay to make use of as ornaments for the sculptures. Aside from that, one other is engrossed in overlaying the idols with a clay coat.

The place smells of a mixture of moist earth, contemporary paint and spices. Amidst the silence of a dimly lit workshop, an aged man sits and cuts greens, often stirring an earthen pot positioned on the range.

After a two-year hiatus to proceed the decades-old custom of clay idol making, the Malay Khanra have returned to the town together with 12 different idol makers from West Bengal. They journey a thousand kilometers yearly to form a devotion that’s the heart of celebration on this a part of the nation. The pandemic had halted his travels over the previous two years.

A West Bengal sculpture maker takes a break from work at a workshop close to Lawson’s Bay in Visakhapatnam. picture credit score: KR Deepak

This yr, the festive buzz is slowly build up as Visakhapatnam gears as much as rejoice Vinayaka Chavithi in 10 days’ time. And there’s a rising demand for Kolkata clay Ganesha made by Bengali idol makers. Nevertheless, idol makers are seeing extra demand for smaller idols this yr.

“Now we have made 200 clay idols this yr, greater than half of them are small. Usually we used to make solely 30 such small idols. Remainder of the idols was 10 ft and above,” says Sarkam Murthy, who manages the workshop at RP Meta.

Idol makers from West Bengal make Ganesha idols from clay brought from the banks of the Ganges near Lawson's Bay in Visakhapatnam

Idol makers from West Bengal making Ganesh idols from clay introduced from the banks of the Ganges close to Lawson’s Bay in Visakhapatnam. picture credit score: KR Deepak

A lot of the sculptures in his workshop are 5 ft and fewer in measurement. “Individuals need to be cautious this time as numerous restrictions had been imposed within the final two years because of the pandemic. Most orders from gated communities and residences are for small sculptures. It is usually simple to do immersion on the place of worship and it offers a optimistic message of celebrating the pageant in a clear and inexperienced method,” says Murthy.

After battling a monetary crunch within the final two years, the idol makers from West Bengal are joyful to be again. Nevertheless, the rising value of uncooked supplies is a matter of concern. “The worth of soil has gone up considerably and apart from there’s a scarcity of soil,” says Malay. Murthy additionally says that the value of a ton of clay has gone up: it’s ₹20,000 this yr. “It was ₹3,000 only a yr earlier than the pandemic. We can not cross on the price to patrons in an already cautious market temper. Therefore the revenue margin will get affected,” says Murthy.

Many idols from his workshop will journey to different components of Andhra Pradesh equivalent to Vijayawada, Kakinada, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Bobbili, Narsipatnam, Nakkapalle and Rajahmundry.

Idol makers from West Bengal make Ganesha idols from clay brought from the banks of the Ganges near Mahatma Gandhi Grandhalm, RP Peta in Kanchrapalem, Visakhapatnam

Idol makers from West Bengal make Ganesha idols from clay introduced from the banks of the Ganges close to Mahatma Gandhi Grandhalm, RP Peta at Kanchrapalem in Visakhapatnam. picture credit score: KR Deepak

A 9 ft idol of Ganesha is being ready exterior the workshop, the place the elephant-headed god is seated on Garuda. 4 Bengali idol makers have been deputed with the arduous job of finishing this finely carved idol which must be accomplished within the subsequent 4 days. “It is a particular idol of a pandal from Boyapalem which is able to take part in a colony competitors. And our sculptures have a repute for profitable competitors for delicate craftsmanship,” says Murthy.

Close to Waltair Depot in Lawsons Bay Colony, Gautam Sen offers remaining touches to a 12-feet tall clay sculpture. That is the tallest statue of the workshop. “We use two sorts of soil, one from the banks of the Ganges which comes from West Bengal and the opposite that’s regionally procured. The ending of the clay idol is a lot better, however it’s also costly,” says Gautam.

Right here, 9 idol makers from West Bengal work from the early hours of the day till midnight, feeding twice, to meet orders because the pageant approaches. Whereas engaged on the idol, Nitai Charan Bhui listens to a Bengali track on his telephone. “I’m relieved to be again,” Nitai says. Final yr he needed to work for 3 months as a house prepare dinner in Anandapuram close to Visakhapatnam. “Fortunately I’m good at cooking and revel in it. I additionally prepare dinner at dwelling after I am going again after the festive month is over. This talent helped me survive in difficult instances. However nothing offers me extra happiness than making idols out of clay. That is what I’ve been doing with my household because the age of 12,” says Nitai.

Whilst Visakhapatnam is witnessing a rising pattern of small clay idols, the town can be on the point of set up an enormous 89-foot clay Ganesha statue at Gajuwaka’s Lanka Maidan. The idol is being made by famend sculptor Chinnaswamy Rajendran, who has been designing and constructing the well-known Khairatabad statue in Hyderabad since 1978. About 60 staff are engaged on the statue, which is alleged to be one of many tallest within the nation this yr.



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