Every year, thousands of people from north Karnataka holiday in Goa and savour ‘tandoori' dishes at beachside inns and ‘dhabas' there.
Few, however, know that the tandoor, or clay ovens, used to make these dishes have a link to their native place, or at least a place nearby. Every week, more so during the tourist season, at least 10 to 12 tandoors are sent from Hubli to Goa and parts of southern Maharashtra.
Some families of potters here gambled on this business and are now reaping the benefits.
Born into one such family of potters, Gurusiddappa Kumbar of Nekar Colony, once eked out a living making clay pots, lamps and other such clay utensils. Two decades ago, an inquiry from a Punjabi on a tandoor opened a window of opportunity for his family.
He ventured into making tandoors with a bit of trepidation. The orders did not follow immediately; it took him years to get a regular demand for the supply of tandoors.
“In the last one decade, we have got regular orders. And especially during the tourist season, all twelve members of the family are engaged in making tandoors; and it fetches good money too,” Mr. Kumbar told The Hindu .
It usually takes at least eight days to make a tandoor and it's usually done in bulk. While the basic model is big enough to bake 15 rotis at a time, there are bigger ones too that can bake up to 40 in a go.
Based on the requirement, a tandoor can cost anywhere between Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 15,000 and they last up to two years. Mr. Kumbar's is not the only family making profits. Shankar Kumar's family from Bammapur Oni here has been engaged in the same business.
“Earlier, when we made clay pots and utensils, it was a hand-to-mouth existence for us. Now, we can think beyond it,” says Mr. Kumbar. The steady demand for tandoors has prevented these families from changing their occupation.