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.
या देवी सर्वाभूतेशु माँ रूपेण संस्थिता
या देवी सर्वाभूतेशु शक्ति रूपेण संस्थिता
या देवी सर्वाभूतेशु बुद्धि रूपेण संस्थिता
या देवी सर्वाभूतेशु लक्ष्मी रूपेण संस्थिता
नमस्तस्ये नमस्तस्ये नमो नमः
Meaning: Goddess Durga is omnipresent. She is the personification of Universal Mother. She is a Mother, who is present everywhere and who is embodiment of power and energy. Great mother, who is present everywhere and who is embodiment of Peace. I bow to that mother, I bow to Durga, I bow to Shakti.
Taken at last year’s Durga Puja in my city. Maa Durga is accompanied by Goddess Laxmi on her left (with her mount the owl), Goddess Saraswati (with her mount the swan) on her right and her two sons Lord Ganesha on her far right (with mouse as his mount) and Lord Kartikeya on her far left (with peacock as his mount). Also shown is the slaying of the demon Mahishasura by the Goddess Durga.
Durga Puja is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates worship of Hindu goddess Durga. Durga Puja is widely celebrated in West Bengal, Assam , Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and Tripura. Not only it is the biggest Hindu festival celebrated throughout the State, but also the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengali society.