Odisha Artisans sculpt miniature idols of Trinity ahead of Rath Yatra

Since demand for the mini idols grows during Rath Yatra, these artists are now busy applying finishing touches and setting up stalls near the temple to sell them.
Lina Moharana and her son giving final touches to miniature idols of the Trinity
Lina Moharana and her son giving final touches to miniature idols of the TrinityFile Photo

KENDRAPARA: Rath Yatra is here and with it, Kamarakhandi village too, is buzzing with activity as artisans of the hamlet are now toiling day and night to meet with the growing demand of miniature clay idols of the Trinity.

Located on the outskirts of Baldevjew temple at Ichapur in Kendrapur town, this village houses around 30 artisans who are into making and selling miniature clay idols of Lord Jagannath, Devi Subhadra and Lord Balabhadra.

Since demand for the mini idols grows during Rath Yatra, these artists are now busy applying finishing touches and setting up stalls near the temple to sell them.

Fifty-two-year-old Lina Moharana, an artisan, said she along with her son Nigamananda and husband Ramesh churn out at least 20 clay idols per day to meet with the huge demand during the chariot festival. Price of the idols range between `50 and `400 each, she said.

“I have been into this profession for the last 28 years. Two decades back, around 50 families of the village were into this profession but now most of them have left,” she said.

Another artisan Ramesh Moharana, however, said scope of this work has reduced these days. “We make different earthen images of the Trinity during Rath Yatra and idols of other deities, diyas during Dussehra and Kali Puja etc, throughout the year. However, apart from the Trinity’s, sale of other idols is generally slack,” he shared.

“The annual Rath Yatra is a boon for us as we get the opportunity to earn more money during this time. Apart from the Trinity’s idols, we also make clay horses, elephants, dolls and other items which are equally in demand among the customers. This age-old occupation has been a source of livelihood for us since the time of our ancestors,” said Ashok Moharana, an artisan.

However, Paresh Moharana, another artisan, disagrees. He said since making earthen images of deities is a seasonal business, many youths abandon the profession in search of greener pastures. “As a result, very few people of the young generation learn the art of making these idols,” he said.

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