BHAKTAPUR, Nov 11: Demand for Palas - clay cups used as oil-fed lamps - has increased as Tihar festival approaches nearer.
Potters in Bhaktapur said they were having a hard time meeting demand for palas which has increased significantly over the past few days. “Demand for palas is limited to less than a few dozens on a normal day. The demand has now increased to around 150,000 to 200,000 units a day,” said Rojan Prajapati, a pottery maker of Bolachhen, Bhaktapur.
Dayaram Prajapati, another potter at Bolachhen, said the demand for clay cups rise significantly during Tihar as people light up their homes and hearths to welcome Laxmi - the goddess of wealth. “All of us have remained busy making palas since last week,” said Prajapati, adding that he makes around 100,000 palas during Tihar.
Though electric lamps are readily available in the market, potters said the demand and popularity of clay lamps have not decreased. Clay lamps in the markets of Bhaktapur are available from 1-10 rupees depending on the size. However, prices are high in other parts of the capital. In Bhedasingh, clay lamps are available in the price range of Rs 15 for a dozen for small ones to Rs 20 per unit for bigger ones.
“Earlier it was difficult to make palas in large scale as we had to do everything manually. The use of electric devices these days has made things easier for us,” said another potter Shyam Prajapati. “These days a potter can make around 30,000 clay lamps.”
According to Dayaram, potters in Bhaktapur send clay lamps worth Rs 200,000 to Rs 300,000 to markets in capital every day. Apart form the markets in capital, clay lamps are also sent to Kavre and some Tarai districts.