'Imported' Lord Ganesha, a bane for local potters

Demand for glittering idols, Mysore style artists lose out

'Imported' Lord Ganesha, a bane for local potters

Kumbargeri, also known as the Potter’s Colony off Sayyaji Rao Road in the city was once a most sought after place, for the artisans in demand during every Gowri-Ganesha festival.

Now in a changed situation, artists from outside the city and State have emerged a formidable challenge for the local potters, claiming share in the left over fortune.

Idols of Ganesha made in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and also the neighbouring Bangalore city have found way into the city, with some seasoned merchants setting up make-shift shops at every available square, making a windfall. More than that, such idols made of plaster of paris and paper pulps portend issues on the health front.

Revanna, a graduate of Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA) who comes from a family of potters told Deccan Herald, that the spurt in demand for such idols could be attributed to the organisations involved in celebrating the festival in public.

“For them (organisations), the idols should be innovative in style, with all the glittering embellishments. It should stand out from the other Ganeshas installed publicly,” he said.
Though the local artists who practice Mysore Style of idol making could bring into shape any type of Ganesha, they cannot ensure the glint that their competitors can incorporate. The artisans here don’t use fluorescent colours (considered dangerous to environment) to give that much in demand brightness to the idols.

As a result, it’s only the locals, especially the good old customers and their next generation who still make a beeline to ghetto Kumbargeri, while the demand from outside has gradually subsided. Revanna recalls, some of the artisans in his locality, were catering to the customers up to Bombay (which later became Mumbai), with Bangaloreans being the regular customers.

Awareness

Increase in awareness among the rural masses about checking any attempts to destroy the existing water bodies, has been adding to the worry of potters.

To make the idols, sand deposited on the bed of the river bodies, either a tank or lake is the most suitable, according to Revanna.

The sand deposited is slushy, but it is later converted into clay by mixing it with water in a customised way. However, sand is collected only after the water level recedes or when it has dried up. As a result, one load of clay is sold at the rate of Rs 5,000 and the idol makers have to wait in batches to get the same.

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