‘Subramanya Ganapathy’ will be the centre of attraction
Every year, Vinayaka Chathurthi festival brings a seasonal business for artisans; they make the different forms of Lord Ganapathy and work overtime at least for two months ahead of the festival. Apart from labour, they also invest a few lakhs of rupees on materials, pinning their hope on some profit in return for their efforts.
Melakondaiyanpettai near Tiruvanikovil accounts for a large number of artisans who have been involved in the trade for decades. Every year they ensure some innovation in design, style and form of Lord Ganapathy.
“Till last year, the designs of idol included ‘Nandi Ganapathy’, ‘Mooshika Ganapathy’, ‘Simha Vahana Ganapathy’, ‘Shiva Ganapathy’ and ‘Bala Ganapathy’. This year, we have added new forms and the most important among them is ‘Subramanya Ganapathy’ showing Lord Ganapathy holding Lord Subramanya to the left side of the idol,” says A. Kuzhandaivel who has been in the business for the past several decades.
His brother, A. Prabakaran says the idols made of plaster of paris are brought from different places, including Villupuram, Kancheepuram and Bhuvanagiri by trucks at least two months ahead of the festival. “It takes at least 15 days to align together the head, trunk, hands and legs of the idol.”
Later, a group of skilled painters from different places, particularly Puducherry, work on the idols.
“The prices of enamel paint and wages for labourers have increased manifold, resulting in a hike in investment,” says Mr. Kuzhandaivel. The price per 20 litres of paint has shot up from Rs.1,800 last year to Rs.2,500 this year.
K. Manoharan, a painter, says that idols of different sizes and heights catering to the needs of people were available at Kondaiyampettai. “The height varies from five feet to 15 feet. It all depends upon your economic affordability and taste,” the artisans say adding that the price ranged between Rs.3,000 and Rs.10,000.
Every artisan invests about Rs.3 lakh in anticipation of some profit. Many of the colourful idols were seen covered with tarpaulin sheets. “We have to take every care to protect the idols, particularly from rains,” Mr. Kuzhanidaivelu explains. The artisans are confident of selling all the idols.