All in the business of clay

All in the business of clay

In the Western part of the Capital lies a small village where one can find heaps of clay lying outside the kutcha houses and huge quantity of freshly made earthen items kept under the sun for drying.

Welcome to the potter’s village (Kumhaar Gaon) in Uttam Nagar (West) where Rajasthani families from Alwar earn their livelihood by practicing age-old tradition of pottery. The beautiful clay items made by these artisans are not only part of festivals but exhibition also, which are held now and then in the city.

The 40 year old village is home to 700 families where every member of the family is involved in the business of clay.  Be it the head of the family, women and children, everyone is assigned with tasks like glazing, colouring or designing the earthen items.
“Owing to financial burdens, people from Rajasthan moved to Delhi many years ago. They got good business and flourished here. The trend was followed by other potters who migrated to Delhi in search of a livelihood,” says the village pradhan Patram Prajapati.

From earthenware to pots, vases and decorative items like urlis, the artisans are busy making diyas, lamps and pooja thalis for Diwali. Almost every house makes hundreds of earthen diyas in various shapes and designs each day which are then supplied in the wholesale and retail markets.  

Besides, there are others who supply earthen pots to restaurants and hotels in the City. Kajor Ram, who has learned the skill of pottery from his father, makes as many 200 pots each day and supplies directly to the restaurants in South Delhi. “There is a good demand for earthen pots in and outside Delhi. We don’t get a very good price for our work but it the only way we know to earn money.”

The village has artisans who are not only fulfilling the needs of terracotta products at the domestic level but are known for their skills internationally too. “There are two to three potters who have visited Australia to showcase their talent,” informs Prajapati. There are also craftsmen who make floats (jhankis) for Republic Day parade each year.

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