|Clay heads of idols at their preliminary stage of making...|
If you web-search for "biggest Hindu festival", three results will fill up your display- Kumbh Mela, Diwali and Durga Puja. Whether you call it Durga puja or Navaratri/Dusshera, the basic concept behind this grand Hindu festival remains the same, i.e. victory of Goddess Durga (icon of 'good') over the buffalo demon Mahishasura (symbolic of 'evil'). The beginning of this sacred autumn festival of Durga Puja is marked by Mahalaya, the day preceding the first day of 'Devi Paksha' (Fortnight of the Goddess) according to Hindu calendar. The 4'O clock morning radio program 'Mahishasuramardini' on the auspicious day of Mahalaya kick starts the actual mood of this festival in every Bengali's mind! Mahalaya is not just about listenting to Birendra Bhadra's soul-touching recitation of Mahishasuramardini, it is the very day when idol artisans religiously paint eyes of the Goddess after fasting for a day. This custom of painting eyes on eyeless clay idols is one of the most important rituals of Durga Puja and known as "Chakkhu Daan"! After Mahalaya I gave a quick visit to idol-artisan's workshop to capture some photos of idol making. Most of the idols were yet to get their eyes painted and the artist told me, now a days due to increased work load they fail to follow old conventions.
|Goddess waiting for an artisan to paint her eyes...|
|One word- 'Ma' and Her million forms!|
These idols in the clay house didn't have their eyes yet. So, probably I've to give another short visit to capture those motherly eyes of the Goddess. Anyway, I'll be posting many more photo stories on Durga Puja 2014, so, do hop back! Being a hardcore Bengali ('Bong' for many of you), I may not be able to post regularly during these Durga Puja days which I'm sure you'll excuse. Meanwhile scroll down and enjoy three remaining photos.
|Idol of Ganesha, the prudent son of Devi Durga...|
|A mother doesn't need eyes to see her children in distress...|
|Straight inside the idol workshop, Gods and Goddesses waiting to get painted...|