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Making of Goddess Durga
making of goddess durga

Durga Puja
MAKING OF
GODDESS DURGA

The entire process of creation of the idols from the collection of clay to the ornamentation is a holy process, supervised by rites and other rituals. On the Hindu date of Akshaya Tritiya when the Ratha Yatra is held, clay for the idols is collected from the banks of a river, preferably the Ganges. After the required rites, the clay is transported from which the idols are fashioned.

An important event is 'Chakkhu Daan', literally donation of the eyes. Starting with Devi Durga, the eyes of the idols are painted on Mahalaya or the first day of the Pujas. Before painting on the eyes, the artisans fast for a day and eat only vegetarian food.

Most of the images worshipped in different Puja pandals of Calcutta are actually modelled in Kumartuli, near Sovabazar in Calcutta. Kumartuli has been the nerve centre of image making for more than a century. Many of the present day clay modellers owe their origin to the famous clay modelling clans of Nadia district in West Bengal, though there are many exceptions nowadays. This form of art has been a hereditary aspect of the people of Kumartuli. However, as time has passed by, various changes in the iconography of the Goddess has been noticed time and again. Kumartuli clay modellers are the people who have given form to the changing tastes of Calcuttans.

Kumartuli even exports the images to USA and other countries, where Durga Puja have also gained popularity, thanks to the increasing population of Bengalis there. However, the local market for them does not bear as good a picture. Cost of raw materials have gone high, while that boom is absent in the sale price. Many of the children of these artisans have left their hereditary profession for good and joined other more remunerative professions.

However, one can only hope that days shall change for the Kumartuli, helping this age old heritage to survive.
 
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