Vishwakarma and Durga idols are made of ‘Ganga mitti’
Pune: Vishwakarma Puja, lesser known to Maharashtrians, was widely celebrated by the Bengali community in the city on Sunday (September 17). The festival is observed primarily in factories, industrial areas and shops. The day is celebrated not only by the engineering and architectural community, but also by artisans, craftsmen, mechanics, smiths, welders, industrial workers, factory workers and others.
Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated on September 17 every year. Lord Vishwakarma is known as 'Devashilpi' or 'Architect of Gods' and considered the sole architect and craftsman of the universe. Devotees worship Him and believe He blesses smooth functioning of machines.
There are two Bengali communities, whose workshops are situated in the city and who sculpt Vishwakarama idols, along with Durga idols using 'Ganga mitti' (clay) transported from Kolkata to prepare these idols. These people stay in the city just to make the idols and return to Kolkata after Dussehra.
The devotees purchase these idols from Chinchwad, Pimpri, Wagholi, Talegaon, and from some parts of Solapur.
With the increasing number of Bengalis settling in the city, the sale of idols has grown over the years. Samir Chakravarty, a sculptor from Kumbharwada, said, “We only make Vishwakarama idols from 'Ganga mitti' as the demand is increasing. We are making Vishwakarma idols for the past eight years in Pune. Earlier, we used to get order for 30-35 idols. But, now we are selling over 100 idols.”
Tapan Paul, a sculptor from Khadki-Aundh Road workshop, said, "We are a team of 12-13 sculptors. We come to Pune two months before the Ganpati festival and return to Kolkata after Dussehra. We have been continuing our ancestors' tradition of sculpting such idols. Besides, we also make Ganpati idols giving it a Bengali touch, which is also made from the same soil."
“We make Ganpati, Durga and Vishwakarma idols only from 'Ganga mitti' because of cultural and traditional beliefs are attached to it. The smooth soil helps us carve the idols in correct shape. Along with Ganga mitti, we mix the red soil of Pune in it,” Paul said.
'Ganga mitti' is transported from Kolkata by train or truck two months before the festival. Chakravarty said, “We bring 20 quintals of Ganga mitti by train.”