Chhattisgarh potter’s ‘magical’ lamp burns for 100 hours
An innovative earthen lamp, dubbed as ‘jadui (magical) diya’ has brought a rural potter from Chhattisgarh in focus among buyers from all over the country.
Published: 23rd October 2022 07:39 AM | Last Updated: 23rd October 2022 07:39 AM | A+A A-
RAIPUR: An innovative earthen lamp, dubbed as ‘jadui (magical) diya’ has brought a rural potter from Chhattisgarh in focus among buyers from all over the country. The unique traditional lamp, designed in the attractive shape of being mounted on an elephant, can burn continuously for over 100 hours without the need of a refill.
Tucked away in the remote area of Kumharpara at Kondagaon district of the state, Ashok Chakradhari, 53, can be spotted occupied endlessly through the day at his ‘Jhitku-Mitki Terracotta Kala Kendra’, various other earthen products. Some 12-15 people work in his team throughout the year. Chakradhari had earlier designed a diya with a flame that remained alive for 24 hours.
Chakradhari is slowly gaining popularity on the social media, and is delighted that his efforts to reintroduce the traditional craft are gaining wide appreciation. “I also access YouTube channels for better understanding of techniques. The latest earthen lamp mounted on an elephant is actually an improvement over my previous product,” he told this newspaper. “It has a dome-shaped receptacle to hold oil, which
is attached with a tube-like mould to the base of the lamp that burns for over 100 hours,” he added.
According to Chakradhari, the principle it works on is simple physics, and continuous oil flow is transmitted to the lamp, which is made of soil mixed with a little river sand. “People call it a magic lamp,” Chakradhari said. He further added that the product is a result of his zeal combined with experience and acquired knowledge that have helped him in the creative field.
The cost of a single lamp, which weighs around 3 kilogram, is Rs 2,000. “We need to connect four separate parts into one piece using a traditional touch of design. I haven’t put a high price for the ‘magic lamp’ as it has brought me so much fame,” he said.
Chakradhari, however, is not able to sell as many pieces as he would like to. He lives at a remote place, located around 230 km from Raipur, and has no access to e-commerce platforms. Also, he is preoccupied with meeting the demands throughout the year. Now, some youths of Raipur pursuing business under the banner of ‘loca-bazar’ have facilitated online marketing for his products.
“My customers comprise the common man as well as VIPs. I usually sell my products from my home when the customers visit me to buy them for personal use or bulk orders. Transporting orders is a constraint for me due to issues like lack of proper packaging and risk of damage,” he said.
Chakradhari said he always tries to blend his passion for indigenous products with innovation as value addition. “It is a bit laborious work, and the effort needs meticulous attention in handwork,” he added. He also gained knowledge by participating in several exhibitions in different states. His growing popularity has helped in bringing recognition to his centre at Kumharpada where two governors have visited in recent years.