Durga Pooja is a ten days long festival celebrated with great pomp and show in Northern and Eastern part of India. The preparation for this pooja and celebrations begins days before the festival. Generally, the Durga Pooja is done on a community level and the idols and pandals (tents) for the Pooja are arranged by the pooja management committee of the area. Mesmerizing idols of the Goddess adorn the pandal. The ambience of the pandal is also taken care of and given a very religious and sanctified look. The idol of the goddess is set over a higher platform and sitting arrangements for the priest as well as devotees are done near the platform. Pooja is performed in these temporary pandals for ten days and after the immersion of idol in a sacred water body, the pandals are properly cleaned and removed. Read on if you are interested in exploring the idol and pandal making activity of Durga Pooja in detail.
Durga Puja Pandal Making
Pandals are like a temporary temple during the Pooja. The making of Pandal is also a complex and lengthy phenomenon. It has now become a trend to set pandals through community contribution in every colony and street. The trends of ‘Barwari Puja’ usually financed by the local land-owners or sponsored by the rich people have now become a feature of community contribution. Making of these pandals follow well-set plans that use bamboo poles, wooden planks and cloth. The designs of the Pandal are done in accordance with space available and the community’s population. It has now become a trend to set designer pandals with complex lightings and intricate patterns. Decorated by lights, flowers and several such items, the modern pandals at many places also look like film sets.
Idols in Durga Puja Pandals
Idols of West Bengal are the most mesmerizing and wonderful idols all over the country. They are famous for the skilled and traditional way in which they are created. The basic rule to be followed is that every thing to be used should come from a sacred water body. The clay artisans work hard for several months to create the wonderful idols and images of Goddess Durga at the festival time. The bamboo sticks are used to make the internal structure of the idol and provide it a basic shape. Then the structure is made using straw and jute ropes and strings to keep it in place.
This is a very lengthy process that requires diligence as well as skill. It requires patience to touch the ultimate perfection in idol making. These artisans are grouped for different functions because the creation of idol by a single artist would become an extremely tiring and lengthy phenomenon. So, some of them get engage in making the skeleton from bamboo and straw while the other group mixes clay and applies it. The most skilled of workers make the head, palms and feet of the idol. The application of clay is done in three steps.
The first step, clay coat solution is made in way that it has high percentage of water to fill the crevices of the idol's straw structure. The second layer needs caution, as it is responsible for the fine finishing of the idol. Here, the clay has to be very smooth and sans any impurities. Palms, head and feet are attached to the idol at the second stage of clay application. The third stage is the stage of application of thin coat of clay, applied by using pieces of cloth, to strengthen idol and fill up any cracks that may have develop after drying. The statue is finally painted with the white base earth color and then yellow color. The last earth color is that of red blood. At last, the features like eyes and nose are given detailing, by using color. The image is then dressed and ornamented with jewels.