Photos| In God's image: Idol makers gear up for the festive season

With a string of festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja and Diwali dotting the second half of the year, idol makers find business -impacted by GST and demonetisation- on the upswing.

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST 9 Photos
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As the festive season picks up in India during the second half of the year beginning with Ganesh Chaturthi, idol makers get busy with orders pouring in months in advance. As demand for idols of Durga, Ganesh and other deities spikes upwards, artisans move closer to the national capital in search of work. A peek into the multi-stage process of crafting these festive icons. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

As the festive season picks up in India during the second half of the year beginning with Ganesh Chaturthi, idol makers get busy with orders pouring in months in advance. As demand for idols of Durga, Ganesh and other deities spikes upwards, artisans move closer to the national capital in search of work. A peek into the multi-stage process of crafting these festive icons. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST
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The process of making the idol begins several months ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, ushering in the most productive period of the year for idol makers. Migrant workers from regions as far off as Rajasthan and West Bengal flock to the city to meet the demand during Durga Puja, Dussehra and Diwali seasons. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

The process of making the idol begins several months ahead of Ganesh Chaturthi, ushering in the most productive period of the year for idol makers. Migrant workers from regions as far off as Rajasthan and West Bengal flock to the city to meet the demand during Durga Puja, Dussehra and Diwali seasons. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST
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Craftsmen begin shaping an idol with an assembly of bamboo poles forming the skeleton. Limbs and appendages are then made out of hay and tied around this barebones structure giving the idol its first semblance of posture. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

Craftsmen begin shaping an idol with an assembly of bamboo poles forming the skeleton. Limbs and appendages are then made out of hay and tied around this barebones structure giving the idol its first semblance of posture. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST
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Each hay figure is then coated with a thick layer of specially made clay first by hand and then brushed on to even out the texture of the idol. Growing environmental awareness among buyers, restrictions on the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP) and regulations on dyes have resulted in increased demand for clay idols. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

Each hay figure is then coated with a thick layer of specially made clay first by hand and then brushed on to even out the texture of the idol. Growing environmental awareness among buyers, restrictions on the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP) and regulations on dyes have resulted in increased demand for clay idols. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST
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Making idols using clay is much more laborious compared to plaster which is quick to dry, but mitigates their impact once immersed into water bodies. Plaster of Paris idols make use of hemi hydrated calcium sulphate and don’t dissolve or disintegrate as easily, affecting coastal and riverine ecology. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

Making idols using clay is much more laborious compared to plaster which is quick to dry, but mitigates their impact once immersed into water bodies. Plaster of Paris idols make use of hemi hydrated calcium sulphate and don’t dissolve or disintegrate as easily, affecting coastal and riverine ecology. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST
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Once the features on the idols have been defined, it is set out to dry in the sun for a couple of days -- a precarious step in the idol making process which falls during the monsoon season and has artisans on alert. The roadside displays during this step are also crucial advertising for the idol makers and attract passersby. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

Once the features on the idols have been defined, it is set out to dry in the sun for a couple of days -- a precarious step in the idol making process which falls during the monsoon season and has artisans on alert. The roadside displays during this step are also crucial advertising for the idol makers and attract passersby. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST
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The implementation of the 2016 demonetization caused setbacks to idol makers’ revenues with buyers cash strapped and prices of raw materials increasing. The recent Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation has also led to idols being sold at a higher price this year. While small idols range in the ₹500-1000 range the larger, more ornate pieces can fetch up to ₹20,000. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

The implementation of the 2016 demonetization caused setbacks to idol makers’ revenues with buyers cash strapped and prices of raw materials increasing. The recent Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation has also led to idols being sold at a higher price this year. While small idols range in the ₹500-1000 range the larger, more ornate pieces can fetch up to ₹20,000. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST
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In the final step, the idols are airbrushed in bright hues and their highlights and motifs painted by hand. They are also draped, decorated with painted or actual jewellery and given their associated accessories. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

In the final step, the idols are airbrushed in bright hues and their highlights and motifs painted by hand. They are also draped, decorated with painted or actual jewellery and given their associated accessories. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST
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The idols, in various stages of completion await prospective buyers wishing to take them home. Mostly seen sitting, these idols are viewed as guests to the household while the festive rituals and immersions are performed and as a gesture of hospitality are offered seats from the get go. The prevalence of the seated posture also allows the idol makers to offset the weight of the idol --a more comfortable position for both creator and creation. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

The idols, in various stages of completion await prospective buyers wishing to take them home. Mostly seen sitting, these idols are viewed as guests to the household while the festive rituals and immersions are performed and as a gesture of hospitality are offered seats from the get go. The prevalence of the seated posture also allows the idol makers to offset the weight of the idol --a more comfortable position for both creator and creation. (Mohd Zakir / HT Photo)

UPDATED ON AUG 21, 2017 01:43 PM IST
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