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Chittagong artisans busy sculpting Durga idols

  • Published at 09:11 pm September 28th, 2016
Chittagong artisans busy sculpting Durga idols
With Durga Puja, the largest religious festival of the Hindus, drawing near, the Chittagong craftsmen are busy giving final touches to idols of goddess Durga. There are a total of 12 idol-making workshops or ‘Pratimalay’ in the port city, located in in Patharghata Gangabari, Dewanji Pukur Lane, Nittyanando Dham, Sadarghat Kalibari, Bosh Goli, Hazari Lane and Nalapara areas. During a recent visit to the different workshops of the city, this correspondent observed that the craftsmen were working overtime to meet deadline for the biggest religious festival of the Bengali Hindu community. The artisans said the demand for ready made ‘oriental’ figures was increasingly gaining popularity among the people. [caption id="attachment_18665" align="aligncenter" width="800"]A craftsman is seen busy putting final touch in a Durga idol at a workshop in Chittagong city's Sadarghat area Dhaka Tribune/Rabin Chowdhury A craftsman is seen busy putting final touch in a Durga idol at a workshop in Chittagong city's Sadarghat area Dhaka Tribune/Rabin Chowdhury[/caption] Customers prefer ‘oriental’ as the cost of traditional idols rises for jewelry, attires and other accessories. In case of an oriental installation, the artisans can show his creativity through designs. The idol makers further said the tradition of awarding the most talented artisans every year acted as an incentive for them. A visit to Dulal Paul Pratimalay, the oldest idol-making workshop of the port city, it was seen that the craftsmen were passing hectic hours painting deities for Durga Puja. Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Sujan Paul, owner of Dulal Paul Pratimalay, said this time he had received orders for making 40 sets of idols. “We are now working round-the-clock to complete our work within deadline. We are very much happy as we have received ample orders,” added the craftsman. “The artisans are from families who have practiced this art for many generations. My grandfather Hori Narayal Pual was the most renowned artisan of this region. My father set up the idol-making factory during 1960’s. I have been with this profession for last 15 years,” said the artisan. “Making statues for Durga Puja is a family tradition. My father and forefathers were also into this profession,” said Basudeb, proprietor of Nataraj Shilpalay. [caption id="attachment_18664" align="aligncenter" width="800"]A craftsman is seen busy putting final touch in a Durga idol at a workshop in Chittagong city's Sadarghat area Dhaka Tribune/Rabin Chowdhury A craftsman is seen busy putting final touch in a Durga idol at a workshop in Chittagong city's Sadarghat area Dhaka Tribune/Rabin Chowdhury[/caption] “Making images is quite laborious compared to other jobs. Therefore, the young generation does not feel interested to take up this as a profession. My son has not followed in his father’s footsteps too,” said the sexagenarian artisan. “Now-a-days people prefer statues with artistic decorations for Durga Puja. We should also pay due attention to the sanctity and solemnity associated with the auspicious occasion,” added the veteran craftsman. Each installation usually comprises of goddess Durga, venerated as the mother of the universe, astride a lion killing the buffalo demon Maheshasur and flanked by her four children. The four children are Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, Kartik, the god of beauty and warfare and Ganesh, the god who initiates everything good. This time Durga Puja will be celebrated in 281 Mandap (venues where Puja is held) of the port city.