A giant sand sculpture of Goddess Durga, which is a creation of international sand artist Sudarshan Pattnaik of Odisha, is a special attraction in Bijapur city’s Shahpeti locality.

The sculpture, made as part of the Navaratri festival, was commissioned by the Basaveshwara Adishakti Tarun Mandali, a local association which has been getting such unique artwork done in the city since 1993.

Mr. Pattnaik, who has used around 150 tonnes of sand specially brought from the Mangalore beach, took around eight hours to create the sculpture.

The mandali selected ‘atrocities on women’ as their theme this year, to highlight the increasing number of attacks on women in the country.

‘Protect women from demon’, is the messaged carved in the sand.

“We are not only trying to highlight the atrocities against women in society, but also seeking the divine intervention of Goddess Durga to protect women from the bad elements of society,” said Raju Kubasad, president of the mandali.

He said every year the mandali either selects a specific theme or a historical monument which is carved by artists.

He said Mr. Pattnaik was invited to Bijapur by the mandali about eight years ago when he had crated a sand-sculpture of Sarabjit Singh, who was lodged in a Pakistan jail, and died in May this year after he was attacked by fellow inmates.

“We selected that theme because we wanted to express our solidarity with the family and the people who were demanding his release,” Mr. Kubasad said.

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