Bhubaneswar: This ever-changing world with all its animate and inanimate things, is created by Goddess Durga, reads the first chapter of Devi Mahatmya or ‘Glory of the Goddess’, a Hindu religious text describing her victory over the demon Mahishasura. This victory is marked by the celebration of Durga Puja, a popular festival of Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Bihar and Tripura.
Ahead of the celebrations, artisans dedicate themselves to the process of making idols. The idol makers who are also part of the creation turn creator for around a fortnight to sculpt an idol of the Goddess that will subsequently adorn grand pandals which are visited by lakhs of devotees during the festival.
The complex process of idol making has been a family business for many artisans. While there are many artisans from Odisha engaged in the work, many Bengal-based artisans also visit the State ahead of the festival to sculpt the mother Goddess with mud, hay and clay.
“It has been 39 years my father is in the business of making idols and now we are supporting him. We first build a frame with hay and add mud to it. Next, we cover it with a cloth to prevent cracking. It takes around 12 to 13 days to build the idol starting from the clay work to painting,” said an Odisha-based artisan Janmejaya Muduli.
Explaining the process of idol making, a Bengal-based artisan Subodh, said, “First we build a wooden frame and tie it with hay following which it is covered with the mud sourced from the banks of the Ganga in Kolkata. The finishing work is done by painting the idols using around eight to ten colours.”
Similarly, General Secretary of Cuttack Road Byabasayi Sangh, Rabindra Kumar Swain informed, “We collect mud during Janmasthami from the banks of river Daya after offering prayers to the Goddess. Following it, a foundation is laid out for the construction of the idol.