With Vishwakarma Puja just two weeks away and Bengal's biggest festival, Durga Puja, less than a month from now, this is the busiest time of the year for Kumartuli artisans.
However, despite an intense asking rate, the artisans opened their ‘factory’ doors for a few hours to 25 visually impaired persons, who went to Kumartuli on Friday to “experience” the process of idol-making.
They touched and felt the half-made and half-baked idols, while the artisans described the process of idol-making, starting from collecting the right kind of mud and soil and making the template of the idols to providing the finishing touches.
“We cannot go pandal-hopping even with our family. We tend to move slowly in the crowd and in the long queues while others get irritated. This was an excellent experience,” said a visually impaired person.
The tour was jointly organised by the Kumartuli Mritshilpo Samiti and Salt Lake Cultural Society.
Babu Pal, secretary Kumartuli Mritshilpo Samiti, said: “We had informed the artisans in advance and they came forward to help in every possible way. It was a great experience for us and the visually impaired persons as well. Even as they got an ‘insight’ into the making of the idols, we learnt a great deal about their (visually impaired) daily struggle. They also explained to us how they realise things by touching,” he added.
In 2018, Samaj Sebi Sangha portrayed blindness as their theme. They designed their pandal exclusively for the visually challenged. They used braille and other techniques so that they (the visually impaired) could understand the décor simply by touching.