Monday, 8 March, 2021
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Clay oil-fed lamps selling briskly



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By Binu Shrestha
Kathmandu, Oct. 21: With the arrival of Tihar, the festival of light, people are now busy buying and selling artistic, colourful and normal clay oil-fed lamps of different sizes.
The oil-fed lamps made using clay are in high demand during the Tihar festival. They are required to illuminate houses continuously for a long period.
In the Hindu culture, clay-made objects are taken as a pure thing. So people use clay made objects usually in every small or big puja ceremony. Use of oil lamps began thousands years ago and the practice is still there.
People started using clay made items thousands of years ago after knowing their importance, said Shiva Shrestha, proprietor of Karunamaya Potteries and Enterprises of Janabahal of Bhedasingh.
Shrestha, who has been in pottery business for 20 years, said that over the years demand of the clay made items had gone high.
“Their demand increases further during the festival of Tihar as people need more oil-fed clay lamps to illuminate their houses,” he said.
He further said that the people lately were attracted towards the clay made items after knowing their religious importance.
Businessmen said that there had been order for 1 to 1.2 million pieces of normal oil lamps for the upcoming Tihar but they were not in position to meet the demand.
“The continuous rainfall this year has affected the work,” they said.
“I had received order for only 700,000 pieces of oil lamp. As a result, I was forced to import around 15,000 oil-fed clay lamps from India to fulfill the demand of the local customers,” Shrestha said.
Besides the colourful oil-fed clay lamp, clay made idols of Laxmi and Ganesh are being imported from India especially in Tihar,” he said.
The quality of Indian normal oil-fed clay lamp is poorer than the Nepal-made oil-lamp and they are cheaper than the local Nepali oil lamps.
He said oil lamp and idols of Laxmi worth Rs. 200,000 were imported from India in his shop. The demand of clay made items is also high outside the valley.
Around 400,000 pieces clay made items, mostly oil lamps were supplied to different parts of nation like Dolakha, Barabise, Chautara, Pokhara, Butwal and other places from Bhedasingh, said Shrestha.
After the earthquake, the price of clay made items has doubled which directly affected the traders of the clay-made items. “We used to pay Rs. 15 for a dozen oil lamps and sell them at Rs. 18 but nowadays their price has gone up,” he said.
The majority of Prajapati clan of Newars in Bhaktapur are involved in the traditional job of producing clay items. But engagement of new generation in the profession has declined significantly.
Shrestha added, “We have to be fully depend in Indian market for clay and pottery items if new generation do not follow traditional business and the government does bring plan to promote the traditional business.”

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