Bhopal: While devotees in Kolkata have been barred from visiting the biggest puja hype—a giant 88 feet Durga idol by police citing security concern, Bhopal is all geared up to burn a 80 feet mammoth Ravana on Dusshera.
In the BHEL Grounds of East Bhopal, 65-year-old Om Prakash Sahu and his team busy are busy putting the finishing touches on an over 80-feet tall Ravan effigy – the tallest in the city – ahead of Dusshera on Thursday.
A second-generation effigy artist, Om Prakash has been making effigies of mythological characters Ravan, Meghnad and Kumbhakaran for the last 40 years. This year too, business will be brisk as 20 Ravans have already been pre-ordered including Bhopal’s tallest Ravan effigy.
Om Prakash says, “Every year prices of raw material goes up by 5 to 10 percent but we are not affected as customers pay. I do feel bad when the effigies are burnt as we work on them for months, but what can we do? It is a tradition and our source of income. But I feel good selling them.”
In Bhopal, Ravan effigies are available to suit every pocket. The pavement in areas like Arjun Nagar, Banskhedi, Anna Nagar is converted to workshops where effigies are made and sold. Two-feet effigies this year are being sold for Rs. 500 and the tallest Ravan effigy which is 80-feet tall costed a Rs. 40,000.
Sanjay Banskaar, another effigy-maker, says, “We continue to make effigies as we feel it’s a tradition. Because of this work people are getting a source of income. Though profit is less but we continue. Profit has gone down as bamboo has become expensive. Customers do not want to pay more but expect very high quality work in their limited budget.”
In Bhopal, Navratri celebrations are mainly about worshipping Goddess Durga and playing the traditional Garba dance. But Navratri is never complete without burning of Ravan effigies on Dusshera. This year too, the people in Bhopal over 200 such major effigies will be burnt symbolising victory of good over evil.