While walking through the small alleys, you see the countless effigies of gods and goddesses, idol makers making new idols with full concentration and the decorative items (sholar kaaj). With this, the entire oldest place in Kolkata is known as God’s own workshop- Kumartuli.
I visited Kumartuli before Bengali’s one of the most happening puja in Bngali calendar- Durga Puja on an autumnal morning at 7. Reached there by Metro Railways at Shovabazar-Shutanati, I passed from the small avenues and the tram lines dissecting the Beniatola Street and Banamali Sarkar Street where I saw Gokul Mitra’s Rajbari, who was one of the affluent merchant of early British era.
Mostly known as the traditional potter’s hub, this neighbourhood of Kolkata not only supplies the idols to the barowari (public organisation) puja, but also the clay images are exported in the foreign countries like America, Europe, Pan Asia and Africa during Durga Puja, where Bengali community live.
Potter’s town of East India supplies lakhs and lakhs of clay images to about 90 countries worldwide with new nations joining the list every year, But the condition of the idol makers lay in dire condition. For their distress the women come and join with this artisan groups.
Kumortuli possesses of the presence of some 30 women-artisans like Minati Pal, Soma Pal, Kanchi Pal and Chapa Rani Pal. They have been in the business of idol making for a long time.
Now for the photography, the sum of money Rs. 25, Rs.50, and Rs. 75 are charged from the photographers for the welfare of the potter’s life.