Clay pot sellers, manufacturers see good business ahead of Pongal

A vendor stacks clay pots for sale at Nagal Nagar in Dindigul on Saturday.

A vendor stacks clay pots for sale at Nagal Nagar in Dindigul on Saturday. | Photo credit: Mr. KARTHIKEYAN

Clay pot sellers in the city are busy supplying eager customers ahead of Pongal who buy the pots every year as per tradition.

Mr. Saroja, a pot seller in Nagal Nagar said that she used to sell her earthen pots to regular customers whom she meets once a year.

“We source vessels from Manamadurai, Tirunelveli, Shencottai and from Kerala as well. After two years of lull due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sales were good this year. Colleges and schools bought in bulk because they have celebrations,” she said. A 1 kg capacity pot was sold for ₹ 150, while 1.5 kg and 3 kg were sold for ₹ 200 and ₹ 400 respectively.

She also noted that production has taken a hit and raw material prices have been steadily rising. “But most customers are shocked when we quote reasonable prices for what they think is just a mud pot. The work and effort behind making one is not as easy as it seems,” she noted.

Agreeing with her, R. Karthik, 20, of Gopalpatti near Paraipatti, who took up pottery after his grandfather, said it was not an easy job.

“Although we had heavy rains this year, the downpours during November spoiled our work. It is the time when we usually put our wheels in motion to carve vessels that will take at least 25 days to become a finished product. Drying the pots is an essential stage that has become a problem this year,” he said, adding that it ultimately affected their orders.

Despite everything, he raced against time to complete his orders, a pair costing ₹90 was transported to customers in Palani, Madurai, Theni, Udumalpet, Pollachi and Kerala.

S. Ganesan, 50, a fellow potter from Gopalpatti, recalled how there were more than 50 potters in his village five years ago and now there are fewer than ten. “Many, for various reasons, accepted other jobs that the state must focus on. He must take steps to improve our living conditions,” he said.

He also echoed the thoughts of many fellow potters when he said it was a disappointment that the state did not procure the pots as part of the Pongal gift basket distribution.

Away from the heat of the stove, all that mattered to V. Mariyappan, 45, of Eriodu was that buying a new earthen pot for every Pongal was a custom he simply could not skip.

“Preparing Pongal in a new clay pot is a symbol of new beginnings and receiving prosperity and joy in life according to traditional belief. The vessels that are bought every year will be used for other purposes unlike those who prepare Pongal on brass vessels, especially city dwellers,” he said.

Pot sellers in Nagal Nagar and Bharathipuram, Santhai Road and Bazaar Street had a brisk business.

Meanwhile, customers also opted for brass pots and pans, which were sold in multiple sizes in stores. The product had many buyers from families who gave to newlyweds.

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