Ananya Padhihary

With about a week to go for Kali Puja, the Millennium City of Cuttack is preparing in gusto for the arrival of Goddess Kali.

Despite the fact that the celebrations will be a subdued affair this year due to the prevailing COVID19 situation, preparation for the festivity in the Silver city are in full swing. The people are nonetheless eager to welcome the Goddess of ‘Shakti’ this year as well.

Meanwhile, the idol makers and artisans are busy giving the final touches to the devi’s idols in the Pandals ahead of the celebration.

The making of the divine statues in the State begin weeks ahead of the Puja. Immediately after the observance of Laxmi Puja, the moulding of the mud, hay and bamboo and binding it into shapes to make the skeletons of the idols starts. The statues are then crafted and dried while a layer of mud (Ekamatia) is added. Then starts the art of chiselling the facial features on the goddess’ sculpture. Finally, but certainly not least, a second layer of Mud (Domatia) is added to the figurine.

Afterwards, the customary primary coloring (Khadi Chadha) to the statues is followed. The artisans then apply the final coats of colours to the figurine.

The goddesses are then adorned with elaborated jewellery and mounted on stands.

“We are celebrating Kali Puja on Novermber 4 this year. The process of sculpting the statues is well underway and we're hoping to finish it soon so that the colours could dry even if the weather changes” said the idol maker Debendra Muduli.

Adhering to State government restrictions this year, the idol makers are restricting the height of the statue to 4 feet or less, said Debendra.

A member of Alisha Bazar Puja Committee, Lakshmi Kant Sahu, said. “This year we installed 4-feet Maa Durga statues in all the Pandals across the city as per the government’s instructions. Accordingly, we are following the same guideline while making Maa Kali idols too”

Speaking on the significance of Kali Puja, Mania Nana, a priest at one of the Puja Mandaps said “Goddess Kali, known as ‘Adi Sadhavi’ is worshiped at the midnight. During this hour of Puja, the idols are given ‘Jiva Dana’, which will then be followed by the immersion of the goddess idols immediately as per the rituals.”