Kalyan: Mumbai, the vibrant heart of India's entertainment industry, comes alive every year during the Ganpati festival, celebrating Lord Ganesha's birth. As this year's festival approaches, the city buzzes with enthusiasm. Amidst the famous grand processions and colorful decorations, a lesser-known yet vital tradition thrives in Thane's Kalyan district: "Kumbhar Wada" or "Potter Colony.
Kumbhar Wada's Artisan Legacy:
Kumbhar Wada located within Old Kalyan, where over 30 artisan families reside. In this unique neighbourhood, every household is dedicated to idol-making, painting, and selling during the festive seasons. Each family runs its own workshop, and it's a collaborative effort involving all family members.
Remarkably, it's not just the adults who are carrying on this cherished tradition; the younger generation is equally invested in keeping the spirit of Ganpati alive. Stepping into Kumbhar Wada, one can witness children as young as teenagers engrossed in the art of idol-making. These young artisans aren't limited to crafting Ganesha idols; they enthusiastically contribute to the creation of Devi idols for Navratri as well.
Naitik Ghostekar, a 12-year-old boy from Subedar Wada School, shared his passion for idol-making, revealing that he's been immersed in this art for the past few years. "I learned all the nitty gritty of Ganpati making by watching his parents. This year at least 5 Ganpati idols are already sold which are made by me," added the 12-year-old who aspires to become a painter.
Naitik Ghostekar, 12, Subedar Wada School |
He expressed his dream of joining J.J College of Arts in the future and proudly mentioned that he has already sold five Ganpati idols that he crafted himself.
Viraj, a third-grade student, also found joy in the creative process, particularly working with sand and shaping idols. He excitedly talked about designing diyas for Diwali and confessed his preference for painting over studies. "I have recently started to work with my parents, and I like it. I also design diyas for Diwali and I love painting more than studies," asserted a 3rd-grade kid.
Education and Tradition Goes Hand in Hand:
Several children from this locality receive training not only at home but also at school. A handful number of schools in the area have dedicated teachers who impart knowledge about Ganpati idol-making. Bhavesh, a grade 7 student from Oak High School, expressed his excitement in designing and giving life to idols under the guidance of their dedicated teachers.
Bhavesh, grade 7, Oak High School |
He said "As this festive season nears, we are under the guidance of teachers who train us for idol-making. And that is where I started crafting idols." In addition, he mentioned that he is always "excited" to design and give shade to idols.
Herambh, a fifth-grader who inherited his family's tradition, elaborated on the comprehensive training they receive in school. He spoke of their principal's personal involvement and commitment to preserving the art of idol-making. Their school activities include shading, painting, crafting, and decorating, all in preparation for the grand Ganpati festival.
"I love decorating the idols. I have been painting, sharing and shaping idols for a long time now. We are trained in school for this festival. We all boys and girls are super excited about this festival and all my friends do it," stated Herambh with a smile beaming on his face.
Herambha, a school going student |
As the festive season nears its culmination, young Herambh Jambhale shared a personal insight. He confessed that the final day of the festival, when the idols are immersed, is bittersweet for him and his fellow artisans. In Marathi, he recalled, "Fakta shevat cha divas konalach nahi avadat. Sanglyacha dolyat paani asta and mla te bappachya dolyaat on dista. - It is just the last day that we all dislike. I can see tears in everyone's eyes along with the eyes of Ganpati Bappa."
In Kumbhar Wada, this shared love for tradition and artistry continues to flourish, ensuring that the spirit of the Ganpati festival remains deeply rooted in the hearts of its youngest members, who, with every brushstroke and clay mold, keep the legacy alive for generations to come.
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