The DurgaPuja!! one of the most famous and cherished part of Bengal, its about the Pandals, the idols, the lighted nights and the unlimited celebration. This grand celebration last for four days but the preparation for the same begins long back, which includes the construction of the Pandals and the preparation of the Idols.The Idols are handcrafted in Kumartuli or KumorTuli, literally means “potters’ quarter”, ‘kumar’ being a potter or artisan.
Kumartuli is most recognized for the sculpting of idols for most major Indian festivals.This place is famous for its sculptures of the Goddess Durga (or Shakti) and even exports to a number of countries.In the neighborhood of Kolkata , on the banck of river Hooghly is the place called Kumartuli.
The creation of the Idols
- The creation of the idols are renowned in Kumartuli, however some of the important part of the rituls and practice for the preparation of the idol are unknown to many.
- Crafting of the idol are done with the Ganga-Mati, which is from the clay in the bank of Hooghly river and the soil of the river Ganges.As cow is symbolized as a form of God, so cow dung and cow urine are mixed with a handful of soil.
- Punya Mati -This a old traditional in with soil from the doorstep of a prostitutes home is collected and mixed with the Ganga Mati for the crafting of the idol.The area where the prostitutes stay is known as the NishiddhoPallis(forbidden territories).
- The Punya-Mati plays an important role in the crafting of the God’s idol, it is believed that the mud on the doorstep of the prostitutes house is considered to be pure. The purity of a man is who visit the prostitutes for sex, leaves their virture and honesty outside the door of the prostitutes home.Thus the mud on the floor outside these woman’s home is considered to be pure and called the Punya Mati.
- The Punya Mati is said to be collected by the craftsmen as a gift from the prostitutes.
- This tradition is followed from years and belief that if this practice is not followed, then Goddess will get angry and the idol will remain a statue, having no divine power or presence of the Goddess.
- The craftsmen of the Kumartuli are mostly the resident of Kumartuli and are into the profession of sculpting by their generations.
Crafting the Idol-Kumartuli
Featured Photos by steelashan,
The input for crafting the idol is a lengthy process, firstly the framework of straw is done on which the sculpture is made.The frame is supported by beam of bamboo. A big structure is made, the size now days differs on the demand. The sculpture consists of Maa Durga with her escort lion,the demon Mahisasura,buffalo and the cobra in the hand of Mahisasura. Letting the sculpture dry for few days and thereafter covering the sculpture with a cover. This cover is not removed until the day of final touch and painting. A miture of tamarind seed and flour is mixed with the paint to get a gummy paint,This texture of the paint helps the color to retain on the sculpture.The decoration of the idol is done with various cloths and accessories and given a magnificent graceful Maa Durga’s idol. Numerous type of decoration are done for the idol.
Some of the well known ones are:
- Ek-chala this is a single frame sculpture called the Dashabhuja Durga. In this Maa Durga is framed in one structure with her four children Saraswati ,Ganesa, Kartikeya and Laxmi, alone with the carrier the lion and the Mahisasura.
- Sholar Saaj -The idol is decorated with Shola, i.e thermocol. This is traditional pattern with white Goddess and green Asura(buffalo).
- Pot er Thakur – An idol made out of pottery. This is called a ‘pot er thakur’ , Designed like a flat pottery made out of clay.
- The Bamboo Goddess -Bamboo sticks and hay is the primary object for the decoration of the Goddess. This artistic style is very cost effective and decorating the Goddess
- Tribal Goddess – A tribal form of Maa Durga, wear saree in the tribal style called the Santaal. The accessories are aslo used of the tribal style.
- Warrior Goddess -As the name says ,in this form Goddess depics the warrior look. Along with Goddess Durga all her childres are also dress as a warrior.
- Daaker Saaj -A traditional Daaker Saaj made on the flatten silver shillings. A glamorous looking Goddess.
- Humanity Goddess Durga-A Human form of Goddess is depicted here.
- Kulo And Kori- ‘Kori’ is the coin ‘Kulo’ is the straw tray used for sorting the rice. Using the kulo and kori the Goddess is decorated, giving a stylish and traditional look to the Goddess.
- Kono ek Ganyer Bodhu – Goddess appeared as a married women, it is portraying a married women dressed in the traditional white saree with red boarder of Bengal.
The Idols covered in Tarpaulin (heavy-duty waterproof cloth, originally of tarred canvas), Ganga-mati in the foreground. The fine details into a mane of the Lion by the scuptor. The artisans have been working round the clock to ensure that deliveries are made on time . chokkhu daan is a very important event during the entire idol creation process- during this event the eyes of the idol are painted. This event takes place in the precicesly seven days before grand festival of Durga Puja. The eye is said to be done at last and it is believed that thereafter the spiritual life of the Goddess comes Alive.”The weapons are placed in the hands after the Mahalaya puja
It is a sacred time that begins a week before Durga Puja,This is the start of Devi Paksha Durga Puja and the end of the Pitr Paksha time. The day exactly a week before the Durga Puja is called the Mahalaya, the most sacred day in the Hindu religion.It is said that Goddess is invited on this day to visit her parental home,the Earth. “Jago Tumi Jago” is the mantra chanted to invite Goddess.On Mahalaya one comes to know on which Vahan-Vehicle on which Goddess will arrive and aslo on which Vahan she will go back.In the religion it is believed that the Vahan used for travelling by Goddess predicts the coming year.
The Durga Puja holds a special place in the hearth of Bengal and the customs attached to it also is equally special and we all Bengalis are very sentimental about this. Hoping to keep this cultural value and tradition always alive.
Featured Photo by ankuz
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