Ten pictures of Idol Making during Durga Puja

Ten pictures of Idol Making during Durga Puja

If you are a photographer or have interest in exploring the culture while traveling, you must not miss the process of the ‘idol making’ during the ‘Durga Puja’ Festival in India.This is the same festival called as ‘Navratri’ which I have featured in my previous blog.

Many attend the festival but only a few are interested to know what goes on behind the scenes.  Since I live in Delhi, I eagerly visit this beautiful festival each year.  I particularly love visiting the areas where skilled artisans spend weeks and months dedicated to idol making. I have clicked and shared below, ten pictures from the first stage of idol-making which is then followed by the painting stage. The destination where these pictures are taken is called as ‘Chittaranjan Park’. It is a colony in Delhi where many residents of Bengali origin stays.

Worshipping is a ceremonial process from day 1 to day 10. Though this festival starts on day one, the preparation and efforts begin months before. The procedure of idol making is based on strict guidelines and is time-consuming.The societies or communities who organize this Puja have to collect donations for running the event.

Making of these idols in much less time is a challenging task. Makeshift tents are made where skilled craftsman gather to work day and night, to bring to life these beautiful idols.

One must notice the process right from the beginning where artisan starts idol making by using simple raw materials. Straw, hay and wood shafts are used to create the ‘torso’ and clay is used to give it a lifelike form. Each mentioned God or Demon need to be created from scratch. The efforts going in building the demon face of Mahisashura or the Holy Lion are no less.

After certain days of preparing the structure of the idol, fine-tuning starts. Dresses are made for the idols and are further set up in shape from the molten clay. This entire preparation and process can take more than two months. An ordinary artisan cannot perform such a magnificent task, the skill used is unmatched. A team is formed from experienced artisans and a few arrive from the West Bengal region too.

The head of the idol of Goddess Durga is built separately and added later. On a special day, the eyes are painted on it.After the entire idol preparation starts hand painting of the statues. Each stage has different predefined rules to follow.

Goddess Durga, Goddess Laxmi, Goddess Saraswati, God Ganesha, God Karthikeya,  demon Mahisashura and the animals together comprise the complete arrangement for the worshipping.

As can be seen in pictures below, passion is another key factor too. Working day and night without any significant break is nothing but passion.In Kolkata, West Bengal more than thousand such Puja happens each year!Since there are many Puja Tent or ‘ Pandals ‘ organized in any city, the demand for the statues gets very high.

While worshipping during the festival one must remember the efforts gone behind the entire arrangement. Here are ten pictures to describe what goes on behind the scenes.

The making of Goddess Durga’s Face , it is to be done separately .


Faces left for drying! The clay and sand used has to be pure and proper procedures are followed .


Preparing of other idols , lot of passion and skillset is required .


Making of the idol of Lord Kartikeya.The next stage is painting.


Goddess almost ready for the next stage of painting.


Another idol of Goddess Durga coming to life .


Demon Mahishasura is ready too, to be killed by Goddess Durga.
Yet another idol of the demon.


Lord Ganesha’s Idol is already painted!

The process then moves to the clothing of idols into various colors of red yellow white etc and also placing of hairs. At the final stages, the idols are adorned with beautiful jewelry.Every time I get mesmerized visiting these places, watching the idols coming alive.

On the tenth day of the festival, the idols are immersed in water. As per ritual, this is important because the Goddess Durga is believed to have arrived the mortal world and blessed everyone and then departs on the tenth day. The tenth-day festival is called as Bijoya Dashmi meaning Victorious Tenth Day! On this day the festivities are no less as everyone bids farewell to the Goddess with immense gratitude.

In case you are wondering,  how do the idols look when all is done, here is a picture for the same.

The Puja has started.Shubho Durga Puja! Happy Durga Puja!


So, next time definitely explore the idol-making while visiting India.


Also, post the Puja the idols are immersed in water as a symbol to bid adieu to the Goddess once she blesses us!

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