The celebration of Vinayaka Chathurthi this year will be bereft of the usual pomp, gaiety and splendour.
Artisans making life-size idols of Ganesha are facing several hurdles thanks to the ongoing lockdown and governments orders to avoid gathering and celebrations in public places.
Temples in Puducherry would remain open but no celebrations outside the shrines would be permitted.
R. Ravichandran, an artisan who has been making eco-friendly idols for the last two decades, said this year there was a total setback in his work. All the orders received ahead of the festival were shelved because of the strict enforcement of the lockdown.
Last year, I had orders for nearly 200 idols in June and July from Puducherry alone. But this year the festival is likely to be a low-key affair and most of the orders placed before the lockdown have been cancelled. I am now left with 30 unfinished idols, he says, adding that he had sent around 15 workers who were with him to their hometowns due to the cancellation of orders.
During normal times, artisans in Puducherry would receive orders from within Puducherry and also neighbouring States. The work to make the idols would begin several months ahead of schedule. But now the work has come to a standstill because of the lockdown.
I have been facing several hurdles as the business has been very poor this year. Most of the artisans have availed loans to procure the raw materials and dont know when normalcy will return, says Munusamy, another idol maker from Puducherry.
Rural artisans making clay idols have also been left in the cold due to the extension of the lockdown.