The light source of Mumbai

All roads lead to Kumbharwada, the diya-making hub of the city, as Diwali approaches

Kumbharwada in Dharavi is one of the busiest areas of the city ahead of Diwali.

Its maze of lanes and bylanes fills with smoke rising out of 'bhattis' baking clayware, as the pottery business runs full steam.

The whole of Mumbai heads to Kumbharwada for diyas in the run-up to Diwali.

The area has over 3,000 households, all originally from Kutch and Saurashtra in Gujarat, making all kinds of clayware.

Generations of these families have been in pottery business and have remained firmly rooted in Kumbharwada for nearly 100 years.

With Diwali round the corner, colourful diyas line up the lanes and bylanes simple ones made on the traditional 'chaak' (wheel) and designer ones by hand-press machines.

Mud for fancy diyas is ordered from Gujarat, while the regular ones are made of soil from farms in Vasai, Thane, Kalyan, Panvel and other areas nearby.

Karamshi Rathod (65) and wife Kajraben have been making diyas and other clayware for the past 40 years. They also sell it in markets across the city during Diwali.

The demand for diyas soars 10 days before Diwali. Over 2.5 lakh pieces are sold every festive season, with most wholesale clients exporting the traditional lamps abroad.

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