Monday, October 8, 2012


Bangalore, September 30, 2012 with less than a month left for Durga Puja of 2012.

The biggest socio-religious festival of the Hindus, idol makers of Cox Town are working round the clock to create the beautiful images of the Goddess that would adorn the marquees and amaze the pandal hoppers.The first stage is to captures the making of the idol in their various stages for Bengali Association, Assaye Road, Bangalore.

God in Workshop

Bengal Artist specializes in preserving the age old tradition of making clay idols especially during the festive occasion of Durga Puja.
Out to Dry

Months before the Puja, these clay artisans start cutting the Bamboo sticks and making hays to bring the life out in the images of Durga. Bamboo sticks cut in various shapes and sizes are required to make the basic structure of the idols of Goddess Durga and other Gods. These are also used to make the platform on which these statues will be crafted.
Bamboo cutting
Hay clay fay

 The Goddess figure is then shaped with straw and jute strings/hays along with nails. Bamboo Nails or Iron nails are added to hold all the structures together. This skeleton structure of the idol made of Bamboo and straw, are ready for master craftsmen to give them shapes using Clay mixed with hays.
Basic structure
Now they are left in open space to dry up. On a good sunny weather it might take 3-5 days to dry making it a lengthy and a back breaking process. I was surprised to know that the whole processes are evenly divided between experts. Experts of each group where one group is doing the cutting, other is creating the platform and so on. This diligent and methodical work by the experts gives us the picture perfect Idols.
Sculpture Artist
Lakshmi and Durga
Simultaneously, one group will apply the clay mix while other will cast the head, palms and feet. The Mould is created by plaster of Paris and by skilled artisans.
The Face is made of soil collected from Ganga Basin and brought down from Calcutta (Kolkata) to Bangalore. Rest of statue is made from local soil.  On drying, the mould is then separated from the clay head. This mould being hollow is then used to create innumerable clay heads for the idols of Goddess Durga and alike.
Drying Heads

Similarly they have moulds of Hands,Feet and demon’s face, teeth etc.
Hands' cast
Thumbs - Up
Making of Fingers
Ready to Hold Weapons
The next stage of idol making is applying the layers of clay. To avoid any cracking of clay surface the solution is mixed with high percentage of water. Now the fine clay is applied for paint surface. Palms, Fingers, head and feet which are separately made are attached with the main torso at this stage.  Then they are carefully chiseling into a better shape.
Lion, Tamed
The statues are now shifted to inside warehouse, there the cotton cloth layered with fine paste of clay are pasted to the visible areas before they are painted. The Cotton cloths never crack and good to hold paints. Hence these are applied on face, hands and neck areas.
The Pose and poise
Inner Workshop - Cotton Clay Job
Ten Hands
Durga Head

Now after drying, ...............
Headless Durga

contd... in part II.
Click here for second part:-
This is the first of my story-boarding in a seriesof photo-features ... keep watching this space...

More pic:-


Genius Gene said...

A great review...

Gautam said...

Good stuff! waiting for the next part with the finished idols. :)

Saurabh Raj Sharan said...

thanks Gautam and Bhaskar

soumyadeep said...

can you please give me the direction for this place??is it in cox town pottery road or near wheelers flyover road??any info is much appreciated...
very nice photo-essay btw....:)

Saurabh Raj Sharan said...

Dear Soumyadeep,

I have already mentioned it , Cox town, Assaye Road, Bangalore. Near Yellow arch... Good luck