Durga, the Himalayan goddess, arrives to reign over the megapolis of Kolkata

Kolkata, Oct 10 (PTI):
In Kumartoli, a narrow street in north Kolkata, where Kumhars’ (clay sculptors) have lived for centuries, statuettes of Durga, the ten-armed goddess who will reign over this great metropolis for five days starting from Monday, are being carted off by porters using ropes and bamboo poles.
Last moment finishing touches are being given to those left in the assembly line of the gods which have sprung up in the studios which dot the lane and will ship out on Monday or Shashti’, the sixth day of the Devi Paksha’ (festive days of the goddess).
This whole area, now buzzing with artists working on idols, will look deserted when the goddesses are carried to household and community pujas, said Deepak Dey, 48, who runs a studio shop specialising in miniature goddesses, which many buy for festivities at home. The pandemic has dimmed the festivities somewhat, and orders are fewer but still good enough to give bread and butter to our community, said Dey.
In a unique ritual that underlines the societal equality the carnival of the goddess seeks to promote, soil borrowed from the red-light districts of Kolkata is ritualistically mixed with silt from the banks of the mighty river Ganges to make the clay from which the gods are sculpted.

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