Tiruchirapalli

Designer lamps in great demand

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Come ‘Karthigai Deepam’, craftsmen of Mela Kondaiyanpettai in Tiruvanaikovil work overtime in preparing conventional ‘agal vilakku’ used for decorating the houses.

Most of them have re-assembled the electric motor of grinder for the rotational effect of the mud.

Every time the circular and central part of “agal” is completed, they give a gentle application with a soft touch, so that the wick could be positioned properly. A number of craftsmen say that their profession is a hard grind. “We have to invest a huge sum of money for purchasing the truck load of silt from local fields and a mini-van load of coconut shells. The work involves the labour of entire families, including women. While men work on making the ‘agal’ lamps, women clear the mud using the sieves.

“The festival coincides with the onset of northeast monsoon and we have to make the most of sunlight during the day,” says T. Subramanian (30) of South Street of Melakondaiyampettai. He says he could make 1,000 lamps a day and work for about a month ahead of Karthigai Deepam. Merchants and wholesale dealers from the Big Bazaar Street and Teppakulam area have been the patrons of the trade. “We market it at the rate of 60 paise a lamp,” he said.

Value-addition in agal vilakku has been creating a new trend in the trade. It has gone down well with the younger generation who opted for innovative designs in the lamps.

Keerthana, a graduate in Commerce, says she purchases the machine-cast lamps from Virudhachalam. She decorates the lamp with attractive floral designs after painting it. Each pack contains four lamps of red, orange, green and pink. “The Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation has been patronising our value-added lamps,” she says.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 2:12:40 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/designer-lamps-in-great-demand/article7907151.ece

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