For idol-makers preparations begin six months before the festival
With only two weeks left, preparations for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi have begun in many households. Right from booking tickets, to buying new clothes, houses are abuzz with excitement for the first Hindu festival of the year.
Think of the festival and the first image that comes to everybody’s mind is that of a gigantic idol on procession on the roads, but what many people might not know is the planning and effort that goes into shaping these idols. For idol-makers like Mukesh, Navgand etc., preparations for the festival begin six months before . Hailing from Gujarat, these artists come down to the city to set up shop and make the idols in time.
For their only source of income for entire year, these artists come with families and work for 19 to 20 hours a day.
“With the rising cost of living even if an idol is sold at around Rs.25,000, we get about Rs.200 to Rs.300 per idol after meeting house rent, travel and daily expenses”, said Mukesh, an idol maker near Peddavadlapudi. They lease vacant land at Rs.25,000 for six months. They do not have any other choice of profession as this is the only art they know, observed another idol maker Navgand near Screw Bridge. These idol makers along with their kids are exposed to several health hazards as they eat, sleep and live among the idols that have several coats of chemical paint and Plaster-of-Paris and other harmful material. Idol maker Dhana refutes the new trend of making the idols with clay.
“These are idols of Gods, so they have to be strong, if we use clay then they might break and then it will be considered inauspicious,” he opines.