“Success is a numbers game.” Organisers from Beniatola Sarbojanin seem to have chosen this statement as their motto for the upcoming Durga Puja, which begins on October 1.
The club from North Kolkata’s Sovabazar locality will sport an idol of the deity weighing a little over one tonne, or a thousand kilograms, making it the heaviest idol of the demon-slayer to date.
Made of ‘ashtadhatu’, or octo-alloy, the magnanimous idol of Goddess Durga stands at 11 feet. The entire set, completed with her four children — Ganesh, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kartik — is valued at around 15 lakh rupees, reportedly breaking the record for the costliest idol ever seen in a ‘pandal’. The base structure of the idol has been made out of fibre and then coated with octo-alloy. Celebrated idol-crafter Mintu Pal was in charge of the entire project.
“A couple of teams worked under Mintu da — the first team, who built the fibre structure, worked for three months, after which we took over sometime in July,” said artist Prafulla Rana, who along with his wife Bidyabati Rana, crafted the octo-alloy coating on the idol. “The entire process took nearly five-and-a-half months,”
While the idol is made of the alloy, the weapons with which it will be adorned are made of ‘shola’, or pith, Rana said.
The choice of material isn’t the only unorthodox move by the organisers. The idol has been placed inside a temple in the locality, and by virtue of this year’s Durga Puja celebration, it will become a permanent structure in the said space and will be worshipped throughout the year. “Once it (the idol) is established in the temple, the organisers might decide to replace the weapons with metal casted ones,” Rana said.
A similar idol is worshipped in the southern part of the city at 23 Pally Durga Mandir which, however, does not have the idols of Durga’s children.
According to the artist, the idol was brought from Mahishadal to Kolkata on a 16-wheeled trailer, after which it was placed inside the temple with the help of an industrial crane.
As the festival enters into its single-digit countdown phase (considering shasthi as the first day of puja), social media is already buzzing with pictures of the idol, and it is expected to be a crowd-puller this Durga Puja.