26 February 2010

Pottery town

Recently I had the chance to explore Pottery Town, a small neighbourhood in Bangalore, made up of only a few streets, where potters work and live. Two dozen families live here, where this traditional trade is passed on from one generation to the next. There is always a high demand for pottery – especially during the festival season. The potters make traditional clay lamps, water pots, cups, flower pots, vases, candle holders and statues of gods. Pots or all shapes and sizes are piled up in front of houses, along the roads and in entrance ways of the potter’s small houses.

Rows of diyas (lamps) are laid out carefully on wooden planks and left out to dry in the hot sun on the roofs or anywhere there is space.

A potter at work at his wheel.

During the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, 600,000 idols of the elephant-god are made here!

Moulds are used to make the statues. Ganesha's trunk is added later! The final touch is a bright coat of paint.

Most of the rooms of the potters' houses are filled with idols! Ganesh Chaturthi is over six months away, but the potters are already stocking up...

Statues of Gowri in the living room...

Huge Ganeshas wrapped up and waiting for the big day.


Desisoccermom said...

Lovely pics Isabel. As kids, we used to love watching potters at work. It looked like so much fun. Now, thousands of miles from my country I am took up pottery, which if I probably couldn't in India.

Don't know if you are aware, but pottery is something not many outside of the potter class take up as a living.

Thank you for all these glimpses of the 'real' India which even many Indians miss out on living in their own country or take for granted.

Isabel said...

Thanks for visiting Jaya! It's nice to hear you've taken up pottery.

Yes I know that any kind of manual work is reserved for certain castes and working as a potter is not something anyone would take up. One exception is a man I met in Pondicherry. He had his education at one of India's most prestigious schools and then he was sent to Oxford. When he came back to India he moved to Pondy and took up pottery much to the shock and dismay of his family who had already set up the important job and arranged marriage!

Desisoccermom said...

Do you know who he is? I think I read about him starting an art school there, but I may be thinking of someone else, I am not sure.
But I know what you mean about his family. My family back home does not know much about the work I do and they regards it as an indulgent hobby I have taken up in a foreign land. They aren't interested or aware of the kind of work I do, or used to do. I need to take it up soon though.

Oh, just wanted to let you know, some of my blogger friends and I have taken up a pic a day project for the year and some of them are from Bangalore, Hydrabad and Madras. If you are interested, you can check out their links from my blog: http://www.desisoccermom.blogspot.com

Iniyaal said...

Interesting post... It would be nice if learning pottery in India is made available to everyone. It is a beautiful craft.

Meghana said...

Lovely pictures and informative post.

The clay pots are known as Matka's (In Hindi) and used for cooling water in summers.Ohh i love matka water more than refrigerator.If you haven't tried then try this summer buying a matka and then cooling the water in it.I am sure u would also like the taste of matka water.

roma said...

Very beautiful pictures, especially of the artisans in action.
I love to take pictures of Ganeshji Idols during the festive season. The neatly stacked array is perfect for a photo shoot.

Anu said...

Your post brought to mind a song from an old Hindi movie "Tohfa" (gift) - that song uses a whole lot of brass (not clay) pots - song here on Youtube:


D said...

Beautiful photos, very well captured!

Puneet said...

NICE...I am new to banglore. Can you please let me know the place/directions. Am in whitefield. Really excited about visiting this place.


Isabel said...

Hi Puneet, This is a good time to go to Pottery Town because you'll see the potters getting ready for Ganesh Chaturthi. Pottery Town is off Pottery Road, behind Bangalore East Railway Station. It's just two streets behind Pottery Town School.