Kendrapara: As the festive season is around the corner, the pitch board craftsmen of Marshaghai at Kumbharsahi in the district are brainstorming their artistic faculty to render magic to these pitch boards.
“The age old craft – pitch board – is the first choice among puja organisers for decoration of puja pandals as it increases beauty and attracts people,” said Bichitrananda Behera, an artisan.
The never-falling demand for this age-old handicraft during festive seasons has become a blessing for the artisans as it helps them to earn good money.
In fact Durga puja, Gaja Laxmi puja, Kali puja and Kartikeswar puja are some of the most bankable festive occasions for the artisans.
In order to decorate a pandal with pitch board items about a week is needed to complete the painting. Artisans prepare the pitch board settings for a puja pandal by keeping in mind the size of the pandal and the height of the idols. Tidal waves, jungles, faces of idols, demons, Puri and the Konark temple are the common pitch board settings that are used in pandals.
The artisan has to go with his helpers to set the pitch board in the pandal. The pitch board setting decoration cost ranges from Rs 15,000 to Rs 70,000, depending on the theme, size and layer of the settings, said Hrushikesh Behera, an artisan.
“Usually, we start the pitch board setting before Ganesh puja as the festival season continues till Kartikeswar puja. An artisan earns between Rs 1 to 2 lakh in a festive season. I have seven pitch board setting assignments for Durga puja and eight assignments for Laxmi puja pandals in and outside the district. As Durga puja is only a few days away and Gajalaxmi puja around four weeks, pitch board artisans and their assistants are busy in shaping various designs as per the demands of puja organisers,” said Bichitrananda Behera, an artisan of Marshaghai.
The advent of flex and LED light settings and theromocol had spelled doom for pitch board artisans as most puja pandal organisers prefer to decorate their pandals with these things, said Sudhala Sahu, another artisan.