The Telegraph
Thursday , September 27 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kumartuli touch for Jorhat Durga this year
- Three Puja committees hope to draw the crowds with the skill of a Calcutta artisan

Jorhat, Sept. 26: Goddess Durga will wear a different look this Puja in three pandals of Jorhat as the idols will be sculpted by clay artisans from Kumartuli, the famed potters’ locality in north Calcutta.

Nilam Paul from 1, Kumartuli Street has been invited by Durga Puja committees of Basbari, JPR Junction and JPR Road.

Paul said this was the first time he had come to Jorhat to make idols of the Goddess, the demon Mahishasur, Durga’s children — Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik — and the animals and birds they are identified with.

Paul has a factory in Kumartuli where he crafts about 40 sets of idols for Durga Puja every year. He has come here this year because his sons are looking after the work in Calcutta.

“I came in May with three helpers and started the process of making the bare structure with hay and bamboo, and the base. About a month ago, we moulded the clay and are painting the idols now. Before I leave in a few days, I will adorn all the images with clothes,” he said.

“All the three idols will be different. One is being crafted with the traditional shola (thermocol). We will get the ornaments from Calcutta for a more gorgeous look,” he added.

Sandip Nandy, secretary of Central Puja Committee and president of JPR Junction Puja, said this was perhaps the first time an artisan from Kumartuli was making the idols in Upper Assam.

“I cannot say for sure but I think in upper Assam this is the first time that a known artisan has been brought from Kumartuli, which is famous all over India for idol-making,” he said.

Nandy said Paul had been brought to lend a different look to the Goddess, which could pull the crowds.

“The sculpting of Kumartuli artisans is incomparable. The expressions of not only the main idols but also of the animals, be it Durga’s lion or Lakshmi’s owl, are different. Somehow they look more alluring and have an unparalleled perfection,” Nandy said.

He said the idols would be adorned with the ornaments Paul brings from Calcutta when the finishing touch is given just before the Pujas.

Paul who works in clay, cement, plaster of Paris, fibre and stone said he has been to Delhi, Haryana and Brindaban to make statues of gods and goddesses for various temples.