Idol making has been a traditional occupation in India and elsewhere also. Molding, casting, dies and what notâ€”all the mechanical processes that you learn in production technology, are practiced by these idol makers.
While traveling on-bus, I noticed big idols of Goddess Saraswati near IFFCO Chowk, Gurgaon. So, I decided to go and meet these idol makers. Dhanki, wife of Poora Ram, was available to talk as her husband had gone to Delhi.
She told me that these big idols were meant to be sold to people from Bihar because they buy it for Saraswati Poojaâ€”a celebration that passed a few days ago and therefore, her material remains unsold, which means a waste of her investment.
But she mentioned that her family had been into this business for long and they have a permanent outlet in Sector 14 where various sizes of idols are available and sold throughout the year. They belong to Pali Distt. In Rajasthan but moved here around 10 years back.
The material used for these idols is Plaster of Paris (POP). I was curious to know about the dies used by themâ€”she showed me rubber dyes in which she said they pour the POP and shake it to make it reach all the intricate corners of the die. With 5 minutes, it starts solidifying and after that, they remove it to paint it.
The rubber die costs Rs. 2,000 to 10,000 depending on the size. At the same time, idols are sold anywhere between Rs. 200-700.
There are thousands of such idol makers in India. I remember once I bought around 16-17 of such idols from an idol maker in my home-town. Usually, they sell these idols for very cheap price because they know that these idols will go waste if they do not sell them. I noticed that these idols start wearing down with the passage of time.
Idol making is not limited to POP alone. If you visit Jaipur area of Rajasthan, you will notice huge and big idols made of rock and marble. People from throughout India come to this place to buy these idols. At the same time, if you move to Mahabalipuram in Tamilnadu, you will get small to big-size idols made of granite. They are extremely popular.
Most of the times, the idols of gods, goddess, and demigods are popular. Some decorative pieces also sell quite easily.
This beautiful business revolves around art and science but still remains hot on streets only! As an entrepreneur, do you feel that you can cast your dreams into idols?