Bangalore: For 40 years now, 82-year-old Sudhir Pal has taken on the task of making idols for the Durga puja celebrations in the city.
From Kumartoli in Kolkata, Mr. Pal makes his journey to Bangalore in the beginning of July every year with his trademark handcrafted Druga idols.
His troupe of 30 artisans are currently working in the hall lent to them by the Bengalee Association near Ulsoor lake, where they have been doing everything — from moulding clay to painting —for two months now.
They have crafted 17 types of Durga idols, each uniquely different from the other. While some are complete,others are nearing completion. Once the head gear is fitted, saris draped and backdrops hung, the Durga idols will be transported to the various associations that have ordered them.
“We get contracts from all over Bangalore and we custom-make their Durgas,” Mr. Pal said, while pointing to the elaborate purple Durga statue, about ten feet tall. She stands in front of a matching backdrop, amid 150 other idols.
“We have two types of idols — one in which we frame the entire family of the goddess and the other in which she stands alone on her lion,” said Mr. Pal.
The space is also filled with Ganesha idols, idols of lions, Shiva and Parvati in all sizes. Some are simple and may take two days to complete, while others take weeks to get done.
Mr. Pal said: “The clay-putti idols take the most time. We have to plan our work around the rain.” Even though they begin work on such idols much in advance, they are given the final touches at the very last moment.
All the material was brought from Kolkata and put together according to the demands of the various associations.
After making sure every idol is made with perfection and delivered safely, Mr. Pal leaves the city a day before Dasara to celebrate the festival at home.