In Hinduism, Maa Durga is a form of Devi, the supremely radiant goddess, depicted as having ten arms, riding a lion or a tiger, carrying weapons and a lotus flower, maintaining a meditative smile, and practicing mudras, or symbolic hand gestures; created as a warrior goddess to fight an asura (an inhuman force/demon) named Mahishasura.
Stretched over many months, the procedure of making idols is an elaborate one. It involves creating a basic structure with straw or jute and slapping wet clay onto this. Fleshing out the body comes next followed by paring and patting the limbs into shape. The entire body surface is then smoothed. A coat of flesh-coloured paint is applied and the lips and nails painted a bright red. “The mythological texts describe the goddess as having ‘a complexion like unbeaten gold or morning sunshine and long eyes that stretch till the ears.’ The clothes and ornaments represented by the snowy white filigree work done in shola (the pith of river rushes) which, besides exquisite craftsmanship, possesses an ethereal kind of beauty.