Tamil Nadu

Giving shape to divine characters


cluster of families at Nagalapuram on the Tiruchi-Perambalur border have been making in idols, mostly catering to the needs of rural temples. They have inherited the art from their forefathers and are skilled in making different forms of gods and goddesses.

A group of 15 families are involved in making the idols. Though they are talented in making all idols, they get orders for Lord Ganapathy, Sri Perumal, Sri Chellayi Amman, Sri Ondikaruppanna Swamy and Sri Mariamman only. Apart from their skill in making the idols, it is their knowledge of ‘agama’ rules that they are much sought after. “The height of an idol depends on the length and breadth of the sanctum sanctorum where it is to be consecrated,” says G. Venugopal, (49) who has been making the idols for the past three decades. The price of an idol depends on the size and the artistic work involved in making it, says V. Lakshminarayanan, another sculptor. It takes about a week in making an idol. However, they needed more time when special decorations are needed.

Huge investment

The sculptors said that they purchase stones from Oothukuli for making the idols. “We first ascertain the quality of stones so that we do not incur any loss due to any defect,” Mr. Venugopal says. They accept the order and work on an idol after taking an advance from the temple authorities. Although a large number of people or temple committees place orders, there is always some delay in honouring the orders. “We have stocked a large number of idols in our thatched shed, all awaiting delivery for the past few months,” he says explaining the huge expenditure and intricate labour that had gone into the making of the idols. However, he said he had no regrets as it was more a service than a trade for the family. He explains that village temple committees often found it difficult for mobilising funds for purchasing the idols. The village accounts for about 150 families. While 15 families are involved in making the idols, the other members are skilled in building the temple.

“The art has gone a long way in building our character too. None of us smoke cigarettes or drink liquor,” they say with a sense of pride on their faces. They are prepared to impart training to the interested.

The art has gone a long way in building our character too. None of us smoke cigarettes or drink liquor

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 4:05:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/giving-shape-to-divine-characters/article7904983.ece

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