KENDRAPARA: With festive season just days away, the artistic hands in Kumbharasahi on the outskirts of Kendrapara town are busy round the clock giving final touches to the idols of Goddess Durga and Gajalaxmi. This is the period they eagerly wait every year when they get the opportunity to showcase their talent.
The artisans are busy decorating the idols in the best possible ways to be installed in the pandals where the public will come in large numbers to pay obeisance to the goddess. The festival provide the artisans a good scope to earn livelihood.
Nobody is as busy as the idol maker of Kumbharasahi on the outskirts of Kendrapara town, working to meet the demand. Around 65 families have been busy applying the finishing touches to their works at Kumbharasahi.
Ramesh Behera, a 42-year-old artisan who has two-decade-long experience, said, “All my family members are involved in the art of making idols. As the nine-day festival approaches, idol makers here have entered a busy season.”
“Since time immemorial, our family members have been making clay images of deities to earn money during the Durga Puja and other festivals. Two decades ago, over 100 families were practising the art. But today, it has shrunk to around 65. Among these, the number of families solely dependent on this work is less,” said 67-year-old artisan Satrughan Behera.
“It is difficult to carry big idols to the puja pandas far away from our village for which many artisans are now busy by making idols at the puja pandal,” said another artisan Narahari Behera.
“I have already received orders from 10 puja committees to supply idols for which all the members of my family are engaged one way or the other in making idols. Four puja committees have sought eco-friendly idols. We are making pollution-free clay images of Maa Durga and other images by using non-toxic colours to paint the idols for them. Every year, artisans of these areas burn midnight oil to meet the demand of clay idols in Puja season,” said Basanta Behera, an artisan.
“Many idols are made of plaster of paris that takes a longer time to dissolve. It also reduces the oxygen level in the water for which, we placed order for eco-friendly idols,” said Madhaba Das, president of Maa Durga Puja Committee at Nikirei.