Kumartuli - The Traditional Potters' Quarter
Kumartuli (or Kumortuli) is a traditional potters’ quarter, along the river Hooghly, in the northern part of Kolkata, India - the capital of the state of West Bengal. The city is famous as a sculpting hot-spot which not only manufactures clay idols for various festivals but also regularly exports them. It is the home of several talented potters who toil tirelessly to create clay idols. It holds an important place in history which has a long tradition of clay idol-making along with a strong association with the most important festival of Bengal – The Durga Puja.The area is a maze of lanes and by-lanes where proficient hands do magic with clay to provide shape to divine forms. Rows of idols in various stages of completion are kept on the sides of the narrow lanes and inside the artisans' workshops. Kumartuli’s innovative designs and excellent quality have made a special place in the hearts of art lovers all over the globe.
The process of making the idols, starts with bringing soft clay from the bank's of river Hooghly, followed by preparing it for the correct softness and texture. This clay then gets applied on a basic humanoid structure made with bamboo and hays. Multiple layers of clay are applied to create the final forms of various idols with intricate details to muscles, fingers nails and specially eyes. Creation of the three eyes of Goddess Durga is known as "Chokkhu Daan", which is considered to be the final touch of making the idol. The artisans become engrossed in their work at that time creating the masterpieces targeting a quality and timely delivery to various Durga Puja committees.