Makers of kandils (Diwali lanterns) have noticed a higher demand for traditional kandils this year, and say that although they cost more than modern Diwali lanterns, they enjoyed equal popularity. Kandil-makers claim that the demand for traditional lanterns was largely witnessed among people from privileged backgrounds.
Traditional kandils are made of paper glued to a wooden frame, as opposed to the new ones made only of paper or plastic. Traditional lanterns had seen a surge in demand as they last longer and feel “homely”, say kandil makers.
Kamlesh Pawar, who has been making kandils in Powai for the past six years, said, “It is a symbol of the festival. The ‘akash kandil’ (sky lantern), which has a box-like structure at the top with strips of paper glued to it, is incomparable to a fancy modern kandil that one finds in the market.”
Pawar, who had sold 50 kandils during Diwali last year, said this time around, he managed to sell more than double the number. This Diwali, he has sold 110 traditional lanterns.
Kandil-makers say the lanterns act like “flags” to celebrate the festival of lights. The wooden-framed models are re-usable and many buyers visit kandil-makers every year to rework the paper glued to them. Traditional lanterns can last for as long as eight to 10 years, if preserved well.
“Traditional kandils give a homely feeling. They are five times as costly as the ones made of plastic but people who prefer traditional ones stick to them. They cost anywhere between
Rs 500 and Rs 800 as compared to the Chinese kandils that start from Rs 100 to Rs 150,” Dilip Patil, another traditional kandil-maker, said.
“The popularity of traditional kandils can never be replaced. Although they require more effort to prepare, it is an art to be cherished,” added Patil. Kandil-makers often improvise to make the lanterns look more attractive.
“We like to gauge the trend and make kandils accordingly. Last year, we made fancy moulds of kandil with attractive lights which saw a good demand. We plan to continue the same,” Reema Katri, another kandil-maker said.