Moulding the divine

INDIAN IDOLS

Moulding the  divine

Artisans let their imaginations go wild this season as they create idols of not just Lord Ganesha. In this picture taken at the Mavalli Ganesha Idol market, clay idols of a golden-coloured football, the World Cup trophy, the football team of Spain and Paul, the octopus can be seen.

Preparing to mould Ganesha, who is known as the lord who removes all obstacles, these idol-makers face more than their share of obstacles before the festival.

Exhaustion and lack of sleep is a common feeling for most idol-makers but not one of them complains because making the lord is a big responsibility and an art, they say.  As it’s one of the busiest times of the year for them, Raghu, an idol-maker says that a lot goes into making the idol.

“Apart from investing in the raw materials, making the idol is a vocation that has to come from our family. Months before taking the orders, we go to the temples. Following this, a small puja is done for the raw materials and then we start,” says Raghu, whose entire family is in the business.

 Even the arranging of idols for sale takes a good three to four hours. “We have to first do a small puja for a good sale. Then we sprinkle gomutra on all sides to purify the place and protect it from bad omen. After all this, we look for the right time to avoid rahu kala and then begin arranging the idols. At times, it takes us an entire day to only arrange the stall,” he adds.

Places like K R Market, Yediyur Market, Malleswaram and R V Road are some hotspots where one can find traditional idol-makers and sellers. The booking for the idols starts months in advance.

“A small painted idol, which is three feet tall, takes us a minimum of three to four days. That’s why we start taking orders as early as possible. By the time the month of the festival approaches, our hands are full and we stop taking orders,” says Harish, an idol-maker, near Malleswaram Market.Apart from the idol-makers in the City, there are many idol-sellers who source their Ganesha from Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

 An idol-maker giving last minute touches.“Most of the idols, made from plaster of paris and paper mache, are sourced from Tamil Nadu and the huge ones come from Maharashtra. We get them here and paint them ourselves,” says Kumari, who has been selling idols for around 15 years.

On speaking to Sridhar, who owns a small stall on R V Road, one learns that the entire business of creating and selling the idols is a big investment. “It’s a huge investment and not always, everything gets sold. But we are able to wrap the unsold ones and store them for next year,” he says and adds, “this year, things have been far better than last year. Despite heavy rains, we have got some good bookings and there are demands for more.”

There is never a dull moment for these idol-makers during the festive season. Ravi, an idol painter aptly says, “It’s a great feeling to paint an idol. I feel blessed because almost every year, I get to spend more than two months with the lord in such close proximity. Apart from the money, I earn good karma as well.”

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