puja, the festival of Bengal is one of the most important festivals
of Bangalis. The city of Calcutta enlivens during the four
days of Durga Puja, starting from the day of Bodhon on Maha-Shashti
and ending up with the immersion of clay idols in the river Ganges
on the evening of Dashami. Sharat brings a wisp of freshness
in the air to welcome
the advent of the mother Goddess.
wide blue sky, the mild fragrance of shiuli, glimpses of swaying
Kash in the fields, and the chanting of Shakti mantras fill up the
OF IDOLS_____________________________ Bengal specializes
in preserving the age old tradition of making clay idols. Such unmatched
skills come in the limelight during the festive occasion of Durga
Puja. Months before the Puja clay artisans start to breathe in life
in the images of Durga. Bamboo sticks cut in various shapes and
sizes are required to make the basic structure of the idols of Goddess
Durga and the platform on which the colossal statue stands.
Durga's figure is
then imparted shape with straw tied
jute strings. Creating fascinating figurines of Hindu Gods and Goddesses
has been an age old tradition for the Pals (the clay artisans).
Making of Durga idols is a lengthy and a back breaking process.
This is done diligently and methodically by the artisans to create
the most exquisite pieces of artistry. Such is the perfection of
idol making,that the skeleton structure of bamboo and
straw are done 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 highest graded artisans or Pals.The second
stage of idol making is applying the layers of
This is 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 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 is very fine without any impurities. Palms, head and feet which
are separately made are attached with the main torso at this stage.
The heads, palms and
feet are made of clay.
Lot of skill goes in making the head of the idols of Goddess Durga.
It is generally done by the highest graded Pals. 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
mould being hollow is then used to create innumerable clay heads for
the idols of Goddess Durga.