“Durga mohamaya, songe aschen Lakhi, Sorosati, Kartik and Gonesha, deshe porte debena kono bipoder chhaya”- Durga Ma along with Laskmi, Saraswati, Karthik and Ganesha has come to protect us from evil.
- Are you curios to know the nuances of idol making?
- Have you ever thought how the beautiful idols of Ma Durga is made and the nuances of the making the idol?
- Does the word Dakker Saaj ring bells in your mind?
- Do you know the significance of using soil from brothel in making of Ma Durga idol?
If you are seeking the answers for the above read through my walk through the by lanes of CR park in search of the same.
Shankh (conches) baaje, dhak (drums) baaje, shobhai (everyone) saaje, ma aasche. We get goosebumps hearing the first sound of dhakis play. It is a divine feeling to hear the sounds of shankh. A vibrant festival full or colours, full of joy, moment of celebration for one and all. Ma Durga symbolizes courage, power, victory over the evil.
Hopping pandals, eating misthi, bhog prasad, colorful attire, sindhoor khela, I am sure we all do this and wait a whole year for the same. I wanted to go deeper into the roots of Durga puja and idol making. The first opportunity I got to explore the by lanes of Chittaranjan park and explore the roots and stories of Durga puja and witness making of idol I jumped for it.
I participated in a walk organized by Delhibyfoot led by co-founder Ramit Mitra. Sunday morning up and excited I reached Chittranjan park. Interesting stories of how Durga puja came to existence, how CR park was formed were discussed over a cup of “Cha” hot lemon tea and savory snack.
There are many things spoken and written about Durga puja, so through this blog I will share some exciting and different things I heard and what I took back as memories of this wonderful walk.
Rocker Ada. I am sure a non-bengali would be anxious to know what it is. A few rocks piled up and a sit out is made where bengalis meet to have cups and cups of tea, discuss politics, football, play a game of carom is what signifies rocker ada. We were surprised just besides to the tea stall was a small sit out with carom board and light on it to play during evening time. A perfect rocker ada destination of CR park.
Have you ever tried making something out of wet clay or mud? Tried giving it a shape or molding it? I have done it and trust me it isn’t easy. Mud cracks up, unable to mold the right shape, breaks up if too dry. Imagine how artisans mold such beautiful and unique idols of Ganesha, Ma Durga. Curious to know more than read my journey through the idol making of Ma Durga.
Inside the premises of Kaali Bari temple we had our first experience with idol making of Durga puja. I was in awe with the huge idols of Durga ma, Kartikeya, Ganesh, Lakshmi and Saraswati in making. These 5 god and goddess are made of clay and under one structure called ek- chala. Artisans were all busy with molding the clay and bringing them to life through these huge idols. Beautiful expressive eyes of Ma Durga also has anger on her face when she is killing demon Mahishasur. Such unique blend of beauty and anger expressed through the same idol.
Layers of soil from different places like beaches, river bed, brothel is used to make the creative idols. Reason of bringing soil from different parts is to bring inclusiveness. One more interesting thing which I recollect is the soil that is brought from brothel is used in making of idol. The reason for the same is whenever a man visits a prostitute he leaves his purity and virtue at the doorstep. So all the pureness get accumulated at the doorstep hence the soil from the doorstep of brothel is used in making idol of ma durga
There is also a different thought behind using the soil from brothel.In old days the tawaifs danced on the mud floor. Continuous dancing on mud floor made it soft. This soft mud gave very nice texture and shape to the idols. Isn’t this interesting??
These artisans leave their homes and come live in a new city making these beautiful idols so we all can worship them and get blessings from Ma Durga. Artisans like Govind dada, Manick dada have magic in their hands. The raw form of Ma Durga face is so expressive and brings so much emotions.
How did Durga puja start lots have been written and readily available on google. What caught my attention or what I remembered from the discussion is as common people were not allowed to visit Durga puja organized by Zamindars. 12 friends came together and decided to start their own Durga puja. Initially started in a small-scale known as baroyaari pujo now is famous as barwadi puja. Such small interesting stories were highlights of the walk.
We explored the by lanes of CR park and reached one more idol making workshop. Smell of wet mud, different types of mud, soft, sticky, rough was a sight that invited us to this workshop. It is a photographer’s paradise. Beauty can be captured in a raw form. Spoke to artisans they have so many hardships they work for long hours, sleep in same place with mosquitoes breeding, they miss their families, due to rains the idols are taking time to dry making it difficult to finish on timelines and deliver it.
Do u know the decoration of Durga ma which is done by silver ornaments is also called as “Dhakker Saaj”. Daak is post, saaj is decoration. Can you link these two and tell me what is it? In olden days zamindars used to decorate the idols of Ma Durga with silver ornaments and the silver ornaments used to be imported from Germany. The imported silver ornaments used to come to India through ships and later sent by post to West Bengal. That how Dakker Saaj came into existence.
There is a common thread between Ma durga killing demon Mahishasur and Shri Ram killing Ravan. They both killed them on tenth day of the ashivna month hence we celebrate dushera / vijay dashmi to celebrate the victory over the evil. Therefore every year in ashvina month of hindu calender Ramleela and Durga puja both are celebrated.
I ended this walk trying to do few dance steps with dhunuchi. Tried for the first time was a wonderful feeling to hold dhunuchi and dance. It is not easy as it looks as it is heavy to hold and dance with, also the smoke from it makes it difficult to dance for a long time. These are amazing experiences to cherish for lifetime.
This walk has left me with a special respect to all the creative artisans who sweat out day in and night to make these beautiful idols and give us opportunity to pray and worship Ma Durga. Images of craftsman working, shaping the idols, coloring it, various different forms of Ma Durga, amazing stories which I never heard or read before are memories I will carry from this walk.
Some memories change the way you look at things and this walk has done the same to me. Now whenever I step into Durga pandal and get mesmerized by the beauty of Ma Durga I will pray for and also thank the artisans behind the creative work.