An image of Lord Krishna is an integral part of the ‘Vishu Kani’, during Vishu celebrations across the State. However, this year, an acute scarcity of Krishna idols in the market, especially in north Kerala, has resulted in devotees running from store to store ahead of the festival.
The biggest supply of Krishna idols to north Kerala comes from Palakkad and Coimbatore. Around 15 families at Kodumbu near Chittoor in Palakkad district make the idols to meet the requirements at Guruvayur and other parts of north Kerala. However, they have been unable to meet the demand this year due to various reasons.
“During the pandemic, most of our workers went for other jobs. Hence we could not produce as many idols as we used to before COVID,” said U. Vaidyanathan, an artist from Kodumbu. He and his fellow artists at Kodumbu have cleared all their stock this year and are still getting enquiries for more. “I am happy that we had a good sale this year. At the same time, it is sad that we can not satisfy even our regular buyers,” said Mr. Vaidyanathan, adding that many people even visited his home in search of the idols.
The dull sales during the previous Vishu was another reason. The artists had enough pending stock and they did not feel the need to make more idols. However, their stock fell short as evident from the complaints of customers. “I visited at least three stores where they used to sell the idols earlier before I found it,” said Sugatha Kumari, a customer.
Meanwhile, some artists who managed to keep enough stock of idols could capitalise the situation. “I had more than enough stock because I was targeting the forthcoming temple festival season besides the Vishu market. The traders contacted me when they couldn’t source the idols from Palakkad,” said Prabeesh T., an artist from Vattakinar in Kozhikode, who also had all his stock cleared out this season. Mr. Prabeesh is now busy making more idols for the upcoming temple festivals.
Mr. Vaidyanathan and Mr. Prabeesh make the idols using paper pulp and corn flour wastage, which are completely eco-friendly. Of late, there is also demand for fibre or plastic idols.