Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Kumartuli , North Kolkata
One July morning, I caught a break from work and headed to one of the most photographed areas of Kolkata . Is there a movie, a documentary or a book that cites this city of joy but doesn't talk about Kumartuli? Yes , Kumartuli - where God's come alive!
In many ways Kumartulli is integral part of Kolkata or lets just say that Kolkata cannot have its complete identity without this place.
Kumartuli is known for its internationally renowned artisans who craft the most beautiful idols from straw and clay. Late July uptill Durga puja this place buzzes with tourists and photographers, so if you really want to beat the crowd and watch some of these artists in action head out in the non traffic hours and months.
This little place is located in North Kolkata, between Sovabazaar and the Hooghly River. The main location is Banamali Sarkar Street and takes about 30-35 minutes from central Kolkata.
I reach this potters village at 2 pm. The silence of the streets, greets me. Everyone around is napping. A culture pertinent to this side of the country- an unapologetic afternoon siesta- and yes nothing stirs this deep rooted tradition.
I walk around the streets. Old bylanes of this 300 year old settlement - the silence of this hour is what has engulfed every nooks and cranny. Unfinished work, Deserted workshops, clay and moulds, half formed shapes, scattered tools. The smell of clay hangs heavy.
But then again, its the time to be creative , a pensive time for a photographer with a canvas of some empty streets , the possibilities around moulded clay and the history and relevance of Kumartuli; cutting out the noise, the banter and the hum drum.
I roam around Kumartuli, where approximately 600 workshops create the divine statues over many months for the run up to Durga Puja.