ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

Restoring Heritage

Clay and Culture in Kumorpara

The artisan community in Chandannagar faces a life of precarity and institutional apathy.


The author wishes to thank her PhD supervisor Jenia Mukherjee for her help and support. The idol-makers of Kumorpara are deeply acknowledged for being generous with their time and providing vital information for this research project.


Ei chole jacchey, aarki replied Basudev Pal, a 72-year-old veteran clay idol-maker in the Duplex Patty area of Kumorpara in Chandannagar when I asked him, in January this year, how his idol-making business was faring. His response translates to Its ok, a standard, not promising response to being asked how someones life is. Basudev Pal, an elderly idol maker of the town of Chandannaga

Chandannagar, located about 40 kilometres north of Kolkata in West Bengals Hooghly district, has a long tradition of making clay idols. It is famous for the Jagaddhatri Puja worshipping the Hindu goddess Durga in a remarkable mix of Bengali and colonial French cultures because of the citys history as an important settlement in French India. Most idols for the festival are made in Kumorparakumor meaning potter/s and para meaning neighbourhood in Bengali. It gets its name from the many hereditary clay artists who have made this area their home with their workshops and godowns. Their craftsmanship has been passed down from one generation to another, creating images of deities central to the citys religious festivals. Clay idols of various Hindu deities line either side of the narrow lanes of the artisans enclave here. The narrow lanes of Kumorpara lined with deities

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

INR 59

(Readers in India)

$ 6

(Readers outside India)

Published On : 17th Jan, 2024

Support Us

Your Support will ensure EPW’s financial viability and sustainability.

The EPW produces independent and public-spirited scholarship and analyses of contemporary affairs every week. EPW is one of the few publications that keep alive the spirit of intellectual inquiry in the Indian media.

Often described as a publication with a “social conscience,” EPW has never shied away from taking strong editorial positions. Our publication is free from political pressure, or commercial interests. Our editorial independence is our pride.

We rely on your support to continue the endeavour of highlighting the challenges faced by the disadvantaged, writings from the margins, and scholarship on the most pertinent issues that concern contemporary Indian society.

Every contribution is valuable for our future.