On any day, Kumbharpada Sahi would not make much of a difference to any one belonging to the area. But come Durga Puja, and this run-of-the mill colony in Kendrapara becomes the focus of great attention. For it is here that the clay idols of Goddess Durga are made.
The age-old tradition of preparing idols of the deity has been preserved by the community of Kumbhars (clay sculptors) here. This area is home to around 300 such sculptors.
As on today, makeshift workshops in Kumbharpada Sahi are crammed with half-done idols of Goddess Durga. With Puja just three weeks away, it’s busy time for the artisans who would breathe life into the images.
Work on the idols started last month. In fact, this is the time of the year they eagerly wait as it is only during festive occasions like this that they earn some money.
This year, prices of the idols are on a higher side. “Prices of the raw materials have soared. Low quality straw is a major concern and using good variety straw means more money,” said Babaji Behera, an idol-maker.
Not just within Kendrapara, this time artisans like Behera have got more offers from puja committees of Jajpur, Salepur and Cuttack.
Sankar Rout, another artisan, says he had received orders for 12 idols from puja committees of Kendrapara, Pattamundei, Patakura, Jajpur and Cuttack. “Ten of my co-workers are helping me to meet the deadline,” he said.
In these two months, a sculptor makes up to ` 250 to 400 a day depending upon his crafstmanship.
Besides idols of deities, artisans here make pitchers which sell like hot cakes during summer and diyas for Diwali.