Sri Sri Durgapuja is the biggest religious festival of the followers of Hindu community of our country. This year’s Puja will begin on October 11 (Monday).
In Jhalakathi, this religious festival is celebrated every year. However, due to Corona pandemic, there may be some ebb in the celebration like last time.
The artisans of making idols are working day and night keeping the upcoming Puja in mind. There will be a total of 169 mandaps in the district for celebrating the festival this year.
Work is going on simultaneously at 73 mandaps in Jhalakathi Sadar upazila, at 54 mandaps in Kathalia upazila, at 21 mandaps in Rajapur and at 21 more mandaps in Nalchiti upazila of the district.
Visiting the mandaps it was seen that about 80 percent of the work of making the idol has been completed so far. And after a few days, the idols will come alive with colours and the final brush strokes.
While talking to Paran Pal, a local idol artist said, “I have been making idols for the last 25 years. This time I got the job of making idols for 9 mandaps in total. I am working day and night to hand over these idols to the Puja Celebration Committee in time.”
He further said, before the Corona pandemic, each idol could fetch Tk 50,000 or more. But due to the ongoing situation, the wage for making the idol has come down to Tk 25 to 30 thousand only.
Uttam Pal, another idol artisan of the Durga mandap of the Harisava Radhagovinda temple, said, “I am involved in this profession to preserve the heritage of my ancestors. But my children have moved on to other professions. At present, due to the high price of goods, we cannot earn much from making idols. This time I got the job of making 14 idols. I have also made some idols at home to sell them readymade at low prices.”
Artisan Sribas Gain, who came from Gopalganj’s Tungipara to make an idol at the Madan Mohan Akhrabari mandap in Jhalakathi, said he had 20 days left before the Puja. In the meantime, the idol has to be handed over to the temple authorities after finishing the clay work, colouring and ornamentation. So, he along with 4 others is working tirelessly.
Tarun Kumar Karmakar, General Secretary of Jhalakathi district unit of Bangladesh Puja Celebration Parishad, said the heads of each mandap committee have been instructed to ensure hygiene in all 169 mandaps due to the Corona situation.
Since the work of making idols in all the mandaps is in progress, the mandaps are being guarded at night with the help of their own volunteers for the safety of the idols and the artisans now. He is hopeful of celebrating this autumn festival in a colourful way through the atmosphere of communal harmony.
Tarun Kumar Karmakar further said that according to the calendar, this year Goddess Durga will come on horseback and will go on a cradle. This year special prayers will be offered to the mother for deliverance from the global epidemic.