Friday, October 23, 2015

Straight from the East - Durga Puja in Orissa


Still in a state of inertia. Four amazing days gone in a jiffy and it is time to get back to the corporate humdrum but I am in a state of inertia. Durga Puja always does this to me, and I hate going back to the boring routine but guess one year wait for 4/5 days of awesomeness is worth it. And before you say – Every Bengali feels the same way – I am not a bong. But every Bengali, Oriya and Assamese sure feels the same way. You don’t believe me? Well a lot of my Bengali friends in Mumbai didn’t believe me either when I told them about the traditional Durga Puja celebrations of Cuttack and Bhubaneshwar. So here is the list of five of my favorite Durga Pratimas of this year from the heart of Orissa which will do all the talking.


Durga Pratima in Bhubaneshwar
My personal favourite set up in Bhubaneshwar

Durga Mandap displaying silver filigree work

Chaudhary Bazaar Mandap in Cuttack - known for its silver work mandap
Most Creative Durga Pratima in Bhubaneshwar
P.S. With the availability of the fast drying and easy shaping Plaster of Paris, the traditional way of statue making in India is slowly dying. But Durga Puja in the east is still clinging on to the old ways. In olden times the Murtis (statues) were made of clay and jute and altars of either clay, jute or metal. While a lot of statues today are being made of Plaster of Paris and pose a threat to the environment, majority of Durga Pratimas are still made of clay cause of the belief that the visage of Durga Maa needs to be made from the soil on which beautiful girls walk, and hence are not a bio-hazard. Also, the metal altars and statues are never immersed and are reused every year with minimal or no modification and hence are environment friendly. Orissa specially follows this metal altar tradition and thanks to the famous Cuttack Silver Filigree work, silver altars and ornaments reign in Durga Puja. I seriously hope a similar culture takes over Ganesh Utsav as well and we have safe and fun festivals in near future.

12 comments:

  1. Great glimpses, thanks a lot for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Indrani, glad you liked them :)

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  2. The last design is simply stunning. This is great stuff gives us one more reason to visit Odisha during Durga Puja

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    1. Anurag it really does! Festival time in Orissa are the best time to visit the state you know :)

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  3. Very interesting write-up. I didn't know why clay and its preference over Pop etc.

    You reminded me of my days in Kolkata when i used to be a part of such celebration. Thanks

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    1. Glad you found the post interesting :D Hope you get to attend the festival in Kolkata soon again :)

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  4. Stunning post! The beautifully clicked pictures of Durga Puja oozes the festive spirit of people from the city of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar. Reading your post gives a divine feeling. Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Glad you likthe post and the pics. Thank you so much :)

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  5. Wonderful that you shared all this info , Vee. Super pics.
    Many are not aware about Odisha's centuries old Durga Puja celebrations.
    Everyone must visit!

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    1. Thanks Annie :)
      True very few people know of the Oriya Traditions of Durga Puja. Hope Orissa Tourism propels it to a wider audience just to help the culture from not vanishing or becoming a mere shadow or what it used to be.

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