With Navratri just round the corner, artisans across Bhopal are putting the finishing touches on 50,000 Durga idols. These idols will be for various puja committees in the city and will also be shipped to Sehore, Hoshangabad, Raisen, Ujjain, Vidisha, Sagar, Dewas, Shivpuri, Guna, Ganjbasoda and Pune.
The nine-day festival will begin from October 1.
“This year, the number of idols has almost doubled. The artisans have received bulk orders from other towns. In Bhopal too, the number of orders has increased,” senior idol maker Anup Dey, whose workshop prepared around 500 idols, said.
“As per guidelines, the idol’s height should not exceed six feet, but making such an idol becomes impossible because we cannot depict all the elements of the Goddess. When officials visited my workshop, they requested me to reduce the size but I made them understand,” Dey said.
However, the idol-maker said he does not use chemicals in preparing the idol.
“The officials asked to reduce the colours and chemical content (in the idol), but I told them that I don’t use them… We use natural colours extracted from plants and trees. These colours… do not harm fishes in the water body,” he said.
Theme idols on the rise in city
Chunabhatti idol-maker Ramesh Nayak has prepared 39 eco-friendly idols for pandals in locations like Kolar Road, Shahpura, Mahisha Market, Char Imli, Habibganj, 10 Number Stop and Bagheera Apartments.
“This year, many groups of girls approached us for idols. We have prepared idols on themes like beti bachao, Make in India, Clean India campaign and women’s empowerment’. It feels great when we are able to pull off such challenges,” he said.
Idol left incomplete, artisan bears losses
Deepak Ranjan Dey, an idol-maker in Habibganj area, had to cancel orders to the tune of over Rs 7 lakh after 14 workers employed by him ran off, leaving many idols incomplete.
Dey now has to bear losses of close to Rs 15 lakh.
“They couldn’t handle the pressure. We had so many orders and they knew they won’t be able to complete them till October 1. They all were professionals and known. I have no idea why did they do this. I also paid them in advance. That money has also gone,” he told HT.