A visit to Dariyapur – the Dokra village
In our previous post, we shared about the finesse and uniqueness of the Dokra craft. We had the opportunity to visit one such craft village of West Bengal – Dariyapur near Guskara in the Barddhaman district. Dariyapur is a small village having around 30 families of artisans practicing the dokra craft. Dariyapur was hosting the Dokra fair with the help of Banglanatak dot com and West Bengal tourism.
Dariyapur village is really beautiful. Walking slowly beside the vast stretches of paddy fields, we were thrilled to see so much greenery. Not only that, all our tiredness vanished breathing the fresh air of the village. At one side of the road were the green vistas – the crop gently dancing in the mild breeze. The other side of the road had orchards and village dwellings.
The fair was a grand affair for these few villagers. They had displayed all their items for the visitors to see. The villagers were all of the Karmakar castes and their craftsmanship is indeed notable.
We were very warmly welcomed by one such family, Mangal Karmakar who took us to his house and displayed their craft to us. There were such beautiful artifacts with intricate and vivid designs. All the members of the family are involved in making the craft. Mangalda’s son also helped him in making these pieces of art. He was quite young, barely 12 years of age, but the articles that he made were simply beautiful.
They showed us around the village. We went around gaping and looking at the dokra crafts. We were simply mesmerized seeing these beauties. The village had a kiln where they bake the moulds. There was an old kiln which is open and there is a newer one which is closed and less polluting. The villagers are now using the new kiln as it emits lesser smoke.
These artisans had been in oblivion for long. The cost of production of these crafts is high, so the prices are kept high. But often, they are forced to see at low prices. “It takes three days to make a single product”, says one of the craftsmen. And there is no use of machinery. Also, a single mould is used for a single product only. Overall, turning the brass into this exquisite piece of artwork requires a lot of sweat and work besides skill and concentration.
Nowadays these artisans are getting recognized because of the efforts of some organization and the government. These organizations are now helping these villagers to contact the sellers directly without the intervention of middlemen. This way they can have better margins. With their help, these products have been displayed all over India now. But there is still a long way to go.
The villagers were all a friendly lot. They greeted us with such warmth and happiness that you will feel that you are not away from home. It was the last day of the fair and a community lunch was arranged for all the villagers. There was chaos all around and amidst this chaos and confusion, the youngsters of the village were arranging for the lunch.
A wonderful day was spent at an equally wonderful place. Dariyapur is a great place to visit if you want a slice of village life and want to see the craftsmen at work. There is also a community centre that provides accommodation at very low cost. Around 6-8 people can be accommodated at that place.
Some Facts about Dariyapur:
Best time to visit:
You can visit Dariyapur any time during the year. An annual fair is held usually during September. If you want to see the craftsmen at work, then avoid visiting during the time of the fair. For seeing the products on display, visit the fair.
If you want to stay for a day, you can stay at the community centre at Dariyapur. It can accommodate up to 6-8 people.