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Durgapujo - At a glance
Durga Puja is one of the most celebrated festival of Hindus in India. The festival...more

Durga Pujo - Rituals
The Bengali style of the image shows the ten handed Goddess astride a lion with...more

Durga Pujo - Mythology
In the ancient times, a demon called 'Mahishasura' earned the favour of 'Lord...more

Mahalaya
Seven days before the puja, from the day of Mahalaya starts Devipaksha. People...more

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Durgapujo - Making of the idol

Way before the commencement of Durga Puja, clay artisans starts making idols of Durga and her childrens, Bamboo sticks are being cut into required shapes and sizes . Durga's figure is then imparted shape with straw tied with jute strings and basic structure which can hold the clay are assembled.

Creating idols of Gods and Goddesses has been an age old tradition for the Pals especially in Kumortuli (Kumhor Tuli meaning the area of potters). Making of Durga idols is a lengthy and a strenous process. This is done diligently and systematically by the artisans to create the most exquisite pieces of artistry. A organised and composed team work brings this idol making to perfection, the skeleton structure of bamboo and straw are assembled by one group of artisans while the clay mixing and applications are done by another group and finally the head, palms and feet are done by the most exquisitely equipped artisans.

The second stage of idol involves applying the layers of clay. A old ritual of collecting the first clay sample from a Prostitute's arena is still followed today. The belief stands that man enters a prostitutes house after leaving all his good and holy facets in her arena. The land outside the house of a Prostitute is therefore considered holy and divine. Artisans collects clay from that land and after offering traditional prayers, starts laying clay over the bamboo structure. This is being done in three steps. The straw figurine of Goddess is applied with the first coat of clay solution where the percentage of water is high. This application helps to fill the crevices left by the straw structure. The second layer is applied with great caution as it is the most important layer giving prominence to the figure. The clay mixed in this step has to be without any impurities. Palms, head and feet which are separately made are attached with the main torso at this stage.Lot of skill goes in making the head of the idols of Goddess Durga. It is generally done by the most experienced of the team.

The artisans make the head of the Goddess with fine clay creating each feature with great care and skill. This piece of art when completed is dried. Liquid plaster of Paris is poured over it to create a mould. On drying, the mould is then separated from the clay head. This mould being hollow is then used to create innumerable clay heads for the idols of Goddess Durga. Finally pieces of cloth soaked in fine clay from the river bed of Ganges is applied on the joints of the figure which develops cracks after drying. This thin coat of clay is applied to strengthen the joints. On completing the clay structure the figure is painted with white earth colour. Finally the whole statue is painted with pink or yellow earth colours.

The last earth colour applied is the blood colour. The eyes are then painted and other detailing are done by the main artist. The idols of Durga are then varnished. Hair made of jute is glued and then the idol is dressed and then ornamented.
 
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