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Kumartuli Idol-makers

When the highly revered Durga Puja comes, uncountable statues of the Goddess Shakti are immersed in the holy waters of River Hooghly, with chants and colorful offerings. These wonderful idols are created by expert and skilled Kumar (sculptors), who are also known as Kumartuli idol-makers of Kolkata.

Kumartuli is a traditional potters’ area in the northern part of Kolkata. By their sheer talent, these artists, working in their area, have grown from anonymity to importance. This neighborhood of Kolkata city does not only provides idols of Hindu gods and goddess for various pujas in the city and its surroundings areas, but these idols are exported too.

Time from August to December is the busiest time for the craftsmen at Kumartuli, when they are making straw frames, are doing clay coatings and are painting the beautiful facial as well as body features of Ma Durga and Ma Kali for the arriving festivals. The idol makers of Kumartuli are known to produce as many as 4000 sets of Durga idols each year.

There around 450 workshops in Kumartuli and most of them are grouped around Banamali Sarkar Street. Most of these shops are run by families, which have been into the business of idol-making and pottery from generations. During the season of Puja, the workshop owners hire extra men to finish their tasks. The idol of Goddess Durga does not stands alone in a pandal and it is necessary that she is accompanied by her 4 children. The idols that they make, rides a lion and is shown slaying a demon.