Having arrived to an intense and undoubtedly amongst the most vocal of Indian cities, the budding photographer in me whooped with unbridled elation to see the lanes of North Kolkata.
It was to North Kolkata that I headed to in the last days of January for Saraswati Pujo which was just around the corner. I was intrigued to see the behind the scenes visuals of the idol of the Goddess being prepared.
Saraswati Pujo is one of the many festivals celebrated in the Hindu culture. This festival celebrated to pay obeisance to Saraswati, the goddess of Knowledge and learning. This day is considered auspicious to begin one’s education, and children are made aware of the importance of this day.
When I was in school, this day used to have significant importance with setting up the altar/stage for the arrival of the Goddess. Cut to the future, and the year 2020 saw me in Kolkata during the week preceding Saraswati Pujo.
Like every festival, preparations of Saraswati Puja also begin days in advance. Clay models of the goddess holding her Veena sitting atop her swan are shaped by hands of skilled sculptors. The Goddess is decked with beautiful clothes and accessories.
Kumartuli & Saraswati Pujo
So what better way than to see the preparatory activities involved in the preparation of the idols by visiting Kumartuli. For those who are not from Bengal/Kolkata, Kumartuli situated at the heart of North Kolkata is where everything starts.
It is the place where Old Kolkata lives and thrives. Tucked in the narrow lanes by the banks of the Ganges,the place where the famous idols for Durga Puja as well as Saraswati Puja are created.
It is here that the sticky clay ( entel maati) of the Ganges takes shape and forms under the creative and often intense concentration of the master craftsmen. The idols thus created then travel all over the state, country and even globally depending on the occasion.
There are approximately 500 studio workshops in Kumartuli where the potters and master artisans work and create their masterpiece.
This photo essay is about the link which I felt between the Goddess and her creator in these studio workshops. Here under the glow of the paraffin lamps and naked bulbs, the bond is forged between the Goddess and her creator as she is transformed from the Gangetic clay in a living human entity by the humble potter from Kumartuli.
Hence the germination of this Photo Essay titled Saraswati Pujo – Link between the Goddess and her creator.
Goddess & her creator link in Saraswati Pujo
For more on Kolkata, do read the following links , am sure many among you would find it interesting
Kumartuli is definitely one of the most iconic as well as symbolic streets of Kolkata. It is a part and parcel of North Kolkata life and has been the subject of many a blog post. I do hope to form a relationship with this mystical and close knit place as my days in Kolkata draw on.
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I have focused on portraiture photography as a maiden attempt. Would love your feedback and views on the same in the comments section. I feel there are in-depth possibilities in this genre of photography and Kolkata is a great city to practice in.
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