Durga Puja festivities use in-house talent
When the Capital's first Durga Puja was organised in 1910, an earthen pot was used as a representation of the goddess instead of the deity's idol. Some years later, the first clay idol was brought from Varanasi. Ritam Halder reports. Festive fact filedelhi Updated: Oct 18, 2012 01:39 IST
When the Capital's first Durga Puja was organised in 1910, an earthen pot was used as a representation of the goddess instead of the deity's idol. Some years later, the first clay idol was brought from Varanasi.
Durga Puja, which had primarily been Bengal-centric, had now evolved into a self-sufficient model in the city.
Organisers, who earlier used to import artisans, idol-makers and even pandits from Kolkata, are now turning to the talent and skill in their own backyard.
Govindo Nath, 37, has lived amid bamboo, hay, clay and colours on the Shiv Mandir premises at Chittaranjan Park. His father Nalini Kanta Nath, an artisan, has been a resident of Delhi for over 60 years since his arrival from Kolkata.
According to Govindo, who now runs the family business of making idols, the demand has increased over the past decade. "Why will organisers go through the trouble of getting idols from Kolkata if they get it here without compromising on quality?" he asked.
Another idol maker, who was racing against time to meet a tough deadline at his Mayur Vihar workshop to deliver more than 35 Durga idols this year, was seen instructing his workers on the nuances of clay and colour.
"The first time I came to Delhi 25 years ago, I somehow managed to bag three contracts. Now it's a full set-up here," said Tapan Chitrakar.
According to an official of the CR Park Mela Ground Puja Committee, earlier artisans used to come from Kumartuli in Kolkata, especially to make idols. "Now they have workshops here," he said.
The priests, too, are from Delhi. "Earlier, priests of different temples used to bring their relatives, who would stay for the puja week. Now most of us are from Delhi, though some organisers still bring people from Kolkata," Srijib Chakroborty, a resident of Mundka, who will perform the religious rituals at a Netaji Nagar pandal, said.
Most puja committees are using decorators based in the neighbourhood. At a Mayur Vihar pandal, local youths are making the mandap, instead of artistes from and around Kolkata. Temporary stalls at the various venues have already announced their menus of aloor chop (potato fritters), beguni (eggplant fritters) as well as aloo tikki and dahi bhalla.
And irrespective of their ethnicity, Dehiites from all walks of life participate on Puja nights.