SAMBALPUR: As Western Odisha is gearing up for celebrating Nuakhai, potters are running against time to meet the demand for earthen wares that are traditionally used during the festival. The earthen pots are used to cook the new harvest to be offered to the deity as part of the festival ritual.
Every year, potters wait for the festival as it means business for them. They prepare themselves for the occasion two months before the festival.
Nabaghana Rana (61), a potter of Badabazaar area, said they sometimes travel to Dhama, 30 km from Sambalpur, and Godbhaga in neighbouring Bargarh district to select good quality soil which is used as raw material for the potteries. A tractor-load of such soil costs `3500. “It’s a tradition that the sacred rice is cooked in the new earthen pots. The other puja items, too, are offered to the deity in the earthen pots,” he said.
While in rural areas, potters sell the earthen products door to door, their counterparts in the town take the products to the Sunday market for sale.
“Nuakhai, in fact, marks the beginning of our trade. It is followed by Biswakarma puja, Dussehra, Diwali and the marriage season that ends in March,” said Rana.
Though the products fetch good money during the festive periods, what leaves the potters worried is the sky-rocketing price of the raw material.
“Compared to the price of good quality soil, the costs of pots, lamps and other products are very less,” said Biswa Rana, a 36-year-old potter.