Craftsman Biswanath Dey displays the gold peacock on the silver crown. Picture by Badrika Nath Das
Cuttack, Sept. 26: The College Chhak Puja Pratisthan has spent around Rs 40 lakh on a peacock made of gold on the crest of the silver crown of its Durga idol this year.
"Around 1kg and 100 grams of gold was used to mould the peacock on the silver crown of the goddess," said Shaikh Bazaar's master craftsman Biswanath Dey, who, along with his two sons Ajay and Bijay and three other artisans, completed the intricate gold filigree work in two months.
College Chhak has preferred to stick to its traditional jari medha for the goddess instead of going for the chandi medha (silver filigree backdrop).
"We had created a 4kg silver crown for our goddess in 1992 and have since added nearly 35kg of silver ornaments to the goddess and side deities. The gold peacock is our first step towards converting the silver crown into gold," said College Chhak Puja Pratisthan president Sanjay Kumar Sahu.
Filigree artisan Ajay Dey said: "The traditional decorative craft - tarkashi - associated with silver as base metal, has also progressed to gold with many Puja mandaps opting for the yellow metal to adorn the goddess."
Chauliaganj has spent nearly Rs 8 lakh on a gold necklace for the goddess in its mandap. "Around 330 grams of gold was used to mould the necklace," said artisan Bijay Dey.
The Chauliaganj Puja Committee had come up with a crown of 3kg gold for our goddess in 1998. "We had moulded a 5kg gold crown for the Ranihat Puja Committee in 2015," said Biswanath.
There has been increasing use of gold since the Choudhury Bazaar Puja Mandap came up with a crown made of gold for the goddess on the occasion of its golden jubilee in 2002.
Taking the cue from Choudhury Bazaar, the Shaikh Bazaar Puja Committee replaced silver with gold for the crown of the goddess at its mandap in 2005. The committee has since added gold jewelleries for the goddess and crowns of gold for side deities. Choudhury Bazaar had in 2008 started converting some segments of its chandi medha into gold. So far, five of the 30 silver segments of the chandi medha have been replaced. Nearly 5.5kg gold had been used in the process.
"The glowing portions of the chandi medha together with the "om" insignia at its crest is a classic manifestation of gold filigree," said Choudhury Bazaar Puja Committee president Debashis Ray.
In 2010, Manglabag, which has been organising Durga Puja for more than a century, had come up with a 2.5kg gold crown for the goddess at its Puja mandap, along with another 2.5kg used for the crowns of the side deities. In 2015, it had come up with the chandi medha for the goddess.