Artisans with a Durga idol at their Ranchi workshop on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
The Goddess has gone traditional this year.
Experiments and innovation have taken a back seat as most Puja pandals have opted for ekchala idols of old times, in which Durga and her four children are mounted on a single frame.
According to artisans who craft idols at workshops on Hazaribagh Road, barely a kilometre from Albert Ekka Chowk in the state capital, the demand was more for ekchala frames.
Ramchandra Pal, an artisan who received orders to make 30 idols, said: “Puja committees are not experimenting too much this time. Most are preferring single-frame idols in same colours like silver, gold and bronze. Around 15 out of the 30 idols we designed are ekchalas. The demand for separate idols in varied colours is less.”
Pal cited several reasons behind the shift in trend. “We are able to give the idols more height if they are made on a single platform. In ekchala, the deities can be as tall as 15 feet-20 feet, unlike the modern ones in which the idols, which are separate, get a maximum height of nine feet,” he said.
This part, single-frame models take less time. “We take around five days to craft ekchala idols, while we have to give at least two days more for the separate ones. This is because we have to put in more efforts by way of decorating the idols with colourful sarees, make-up, paint and jewellery,” Pal added.
Moreover, according to many, the traditional frames in single colour and with daker shaaj look more beautiful. “We use the same colour to paint all the deities and even the asura. This not only saves our time, but look-wise also, it is quite attractive,” Pal said.
Members of several puja committees agreed.
Krishna Yadav, president of Durga Puja Mahanagar Samiti, said they did not like to comprise on tradition. “This time, we got a 12-feet idol made of white shells from Haldia at Rs 2.75 lakh,” he said.
Old Pujas like Durga Bati also stick to ekchala.
“During immersion, we preserve the single frame to be used next year in keeping with a 131-year-old ritual,” said S. Sen, member of the Durga Bati Puja Committee.