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Artisans race against time to make idols ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi

August 24, 2022 05:51 pm | Updated 05:51 pm IST - DINDIGUL

Colourful and eco-friendly Vinayaka idols kept for sale at Nochiodaipatti village near Dindigul.

Colourful and eco-friendly Vinayaka idols kept for sale at Nochiodaipatti village near Dindigul. | Photo Credit: G. KARTHIKEYAN

Twenty-five artisans can be found busy working on various sizes of Ganesha idols at Nochiodaipatti on Natham Road near here.

The chief artisan, G. Gajendran, says custom orders are pouring in for majestic, colourful and, most importantly, eco-friendly, Vinayaka idols ahead of Ganesh Chaturti.

“After a dull two years due to COVID-19, business is picking up, which shows people are eager to celebrate the festival in high spirits this year,” says the Poompuhar State awardee.

An artisan makes clay Vinayaka idols at Nochiodaipatti near Dindigul.

An artisan makes clay Vinayaka idols at Nochiodaipatti near Dindigul. | Photo Credit: G. KARTHIKEYAN

Mr. Gajendran, who has been making eco-friendly idols of Ganesha for 20 years, says the idols take 15 days to make and will dissolve within half an hour without polluting the water. The old stock is off the shelf, and despite working on orders a month ahead of the festival, they are still piling up. ”No complaints, though,” he smiles.

The cost of the idols made of clay and paper mache range between ₹100 and ₹15,000. Many regular customers flock to his workshop to buy small idols, while organisations place their orders for eight to 10 feet idols that will be taken in procession.

‘Kubera paanai’

The artisan put his artistic fingers to use during the lockdown by painting little pots. “We offered three pots of different sizes that can be placed on one top of another, much like adukku paanai in plain brown colour. In order to gain customers, we began to paint them in different designs and customers identified them as Kubera paanai, he says.

People believe that items, usually rice or gold, when stored in the pots will ensure no dearth of that particular wealth in their household, he notes.

“I have made more than 8,000 such pots, which have gained repeated customers from Bangalore, Thrissur, Puducherry and even stall owners around Padmanabhapuram palace in Kanyakumari district,” he adds before scurrying back to work.

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