Photos: Kumhar Gram in Delhi moulds earth with fire for Diwali

UPDATED ON OCT 18, 2019 10:06 AM IST
A woman carries clay pots for drying on an open space, at Kumhar Gram in New Delhi. Known as the “Potter’s Village”, the settlement is home to around 500 families from the traditional pottery community, who moved to the area half a century ago. (Money Sharma / AFP)
A potter makes clay pots as his family looks on at their residence at Kumhar Gram. Potter Dinesh Kumar, like many others in the village, learnt about clay from his father and is now passing on the skills to his young children. (Money Sharma / AFP)
“I am teaching them the same way I learnt from my father, he learnt from his father and so on,” Kumar said as he sat at a wheel with many fresh clay pots behind him. “People come to us from across India and not just Delhi,” he added. (Money Sharma / AFP)
A woman prepares pots made of clay. “People come here from all over India around festivals because the (clay) oil lamps here are special,” market vendor Kumar Prajapati explained. He added: “Whatever you need is available here... which you won’t find anywhere else.” (Money Sharma / AFP)
In many households, entire families are involved in the steps to make the finished products. Jagmohan, who only goes by one name, shares the process of making ornate clay objects with his brothers, their wives, his parents and their children. The 48-year-old sits at the wheel churning different types of pots, lamps and flower vases throughout the day, particularly in weeks leading up to the famed Festival of Lights. (Money Sharma / AFP)
A woman carries an earthen pot inside her residence, with others in various stages of completion arranged all over. One of Jagmohan’s brothers carves designs on them, then the women of the family take the finished works to the roof, where they are left to dry under the sun. Once dry, they are placed in a rooftop wood oven to bake. (Money Sharma / AFP)
Children colour earthen pots along a roadside, at Kumhar Gram. The finished products are loaded onto rickshaws dotted around the congested pathways to be taken to nearby markets and other buyers. (Money Sharma / AFP)
A boy colours a decorative item made of clay outside his residence at Kumhar Gram. The rickshaw drivers must carry their cargo while navigating the winding alleys filled with stacks of dry clay, finished or unfinished products, and people like this boy painting them. (Money Sharma / AFP)
Women use a mobile phone as they sit outside their shop displaying items made of clay, at Kumhar Gram. At a market in the village, Sushil Panwar and his wife Pratibha were buying decorations for the festivals. “I have been coming here for a decade now. We take all clay decoration items for our home, like flower pots and earthen lamps from here,” Panwar said. (Money Sharma / AFP)

A woman carries clay pots for drying on an open space, at Kumhar Gram in New Delhi. Known as the “Potter’s Village”, the settlement is home to around 500 families from the traditional pottery community, who moved to the area half a century ago. (Money Sharma / AFP)

A potter makes clay pots as his family looks on at their residence at Kumhar Gram. Potter Dinesh Kumar, like many others in the village, learnt about clay from his father and is now passing on the skills to his young children. (Money Sharma / AFP)

“I am teaching them the same way I learnt from my father, he learnt from his father and so on,” Kumar said as he sat at a wheel with many fresh clay pots behind him. “People come to us from across India and not just Delhi,” he added. (Money Sharma / AFP)

A woman prepares pots made of clay. “People come here from all over India around festivals because the (clay) oil lamps here are special,” market vendor Kumar Prajapati explained. He added: “Whatever you need is available here... which you won’t find anywhere else.” (Money Sharma / AFP)

In many households, entire families are involved in the steps to make the finished products. Jagmohan, who only goes by one name, shares the process of making ornate clay objects with his brothers, their wives, his parents and their children. The 48-year-old sits at the wheel churning different types of pots, lamps and flower vases throughout the day, particularly in weeks leading up to the famed Festival of Lights. (Money Sharma / AFP)

A woman carries an earthen pot inside her residence, with others in various stages of completion arranged all over. One of Jagmohan’s brothers carves designs on them, then the women of the family take the finished works to the roof, where they are left to dry under the sun. Once dry, they are placed in a rooftop wood oven to bake. (Money Sharma / AFP)

Children colour earthen pots along a roadside, at Kumhar Gram. The finished products are loaded onto rickshaws dotted around the congested pathways to be taken to nearby markets and other buyers. (Money Sharma / AFP)

A boy colours a decorative item made of clay outside his residence at Kumhar Gram. The rickshaw drivers must carry their cargo while navigating the winding alleys filled with stacks of dry clay, finished or unfinished products, and people like this boy painting them. (Money Sharma / AFP)

Women use a mobile phone as they sit outside their shop displaying items made of clay, at Kumhar Gram. At a market in the village, Sushil Panwar and his wife Pratibha were buying decorations for the festivals. “I have been coming here for a decade now. We take all clay decoration items for our home, like flower pots and earthen lamps from here,” Panwar said. (Money Sharma / AFP)

About The Gallery

The narrow lanes of Kumhar Gram are buzzing with activity ahead of Diwali as generations of potters race to create clay decorations for customers across the country -- and beyond. The artisans’ skills have made Kumhar Gram one of the most popular spots for earthenware in the nation but in the run up to Diwali -- October and November depending on when it falls -- the place transforms. Entire families devote themselves to making ornate clay products and streets throng with shoppers buying every type of clay decor from pots and lamps to flower vases and statues of Hindu gods and goddesses.

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