Kolkata, Oct 15: Diwali, the festival of lights, is incomplete without the use of earthen oil lamps. But these lamps are facing stiff competition from Chinese dazzling lights, which have flooded the markets.
And as part of the greetings, Chinese lamps and lights have flooded the markets in Kolkata. Large numbers of people, irrespective of their religion are thronging the packed markets to buy lights to decorate their houses for the festival. People say the cheap Chinese bulbs are preferred over the traditional earthen lamps for their wide range and designs as varied as grapes and colourful flowers.
"We are buying Chinese lights because the cost of oil has risen. We get these lights in various designs, colours and can keep it in houses, flowerpots and verandas. The best part is it lasts longer than the traditional diyas (Traditional lamp)," said Mohammad Naseem, a customer.
Most of the shop owners who earlier did other businesses now sell Chinese lamps during the lucrative festive season.
"We are into this business of Chinese lights and every year during Diwali we have new designs. This year, we have introduced the traditional diyas, candle shaped lights, which is gaining popularity here. It is not very costly which makes our sales good," said Raja, a shop owner.
While a coloured-wax Chinese diya decorated with clay roses is available for 15 rupees, an Indian one ranges between 20-25 rupees.
"Lights are cheaper. Oil is expensive now. Every year, I come and buy new lights here. They bring cheer to everyone at home," said Kartik Chakravorty, another customer.
Lighting lamps during Diwali is linked to the welcome of Lord Ram on his triumphant return to Ayodhya after completing his 14-year exile. By Ajitha Menon