Gearing up for the Vinayaka Chathurthi festival well in advance this time too, Jaishankar aided by his family members has already completed a good number of small -sized clay idols even as he oversees his team that is steadfastly engaged in making eco-friendly idols using tapioca flour and other organic materials that doesn’t pollute the environment.
The team is according utmost care to each eco-friendly idol of varying sizes kept inside the makeshift production unit. “We started the preliminary works six months ago to cater to our customers demand well ahead of the festival”, says Jaishankar. The team has already made ready around 200 idols which now requires fresh coat of water colour painting.
The environment -friendly idols currently under manufacture ranges from two feet to 15 feet with first round of white colouring works underway. The raw materials required for making the idols including water colours are all available at Tiruchi barring the mould that has been procured from Puducherry and Cuddalore, says Jaishankar adding that it takes a week to make a big idol of Vinayaka.
The work for the team of 10 labourers commences from 6 a.m. and goes on up to 9 p.m. with short breaks in between that is required for right mixing of organic materials. The special idols this time around are an idol of Lord Anjaneya carrying Lord Vinayaka and a huge idol of Lord Vinayaka in a reclining form atop a serpant.
Getting soil for making clay idols is increasingly becoming difficult year after year. The cost of one load of soil has doubled to ₹ 10,000 this year, he says. Despite the hardships, Jaishankar says he continues with the profession by investing about three to four lakh which he has taken as loan. Like Jaishankar, there are several other families in Tiruchi involved in this profession.
Ahead of the festival, the advance bookings for the idols have already begun. Two to three bookings have been made by customers in Tiruchi, says Jaishankar expecting more in the days to come from various parts of Tiruchi and beyond. The idols would be dispatched on the eve of the festival.
Once the Chathurthi festival gets over, Jaishankar says he would get ready for the Navarathri festival to make various types of clay dolls. These two festivals have been sustaining Jaishankar’s livelihood for years.
(source : The Hindu)