Cuttack: Devotees, this year, will not witness the glow of exquisite silver filigree works that are often used to deck up the idols of Goddess Durga in Cuttack during Dussehra.
COVID-19 outbreak has not only robbed away all the happiness of festive season but also it has forced Durga Puja organisers to abandon long-established traditions. With the usual pomp and gaiety associated with Dussehra gone, the Puja is being planned in a simplified manner this year.
Several denizens from Cuttack said that the pandemic took back Cuttack Dussehra celebrations a century back.
“Back then, the festival was a religious ceremony sans the extravagance that has come to be associated with is these days. COVID-19 outbreak essentially has taken us back into those days,” said Pramod Pujahari – an elderly man from Shankarpur area in Cuttack.
Another denizen pointed to the fact that even though several Durga Puja committees from the silver city make ‘Chandi Medha’ (silver filigree works used to decorate clay idol of Goddess Durga) every year, it will not be the case this year.
Kunu Behera, an idol maker from Salepur block in the district said, “Every year I make idols for famous puja pandals like Ranihat, Chandinichowk, Mansinghpatna and Malisahi. The Durga idols at the respective pandals have been made between 6 feet to 7 feet. In Malisahi, the height of the Durga idol is 10 to 11 feet. But this year we have to make the idols lower than five feet high. It is very difficult for us to give a proper shape to the idols”.
Chandinichowk pandal has its unique tradition. For making the face of Durga idol of the pandal, there is a unique and specific design mould. That design is only used for the idol made for Chandinichowk Durga Puja Committee. The mould is worshipped by a person from Sekhbazar throughout the year.
“In an attempt to reduce the size of the height of Durga idol in Chandinichowk pandal, the specific mould can’t be used for the first time. The mould has been constructed according to height of 10 to 12 feet Durga idol, Behera added.
This year Kunu has made a small mould for Goddess Durga. Meanwhile, Goddess Durga and the side gods and goddess at the pandals will wear earthen ornaments this year instead of golden and silver ornaments.
Chandini Chowk Durga Puja Committee Secretary Pratap Kishore Singh said, “We have to conduct the 2020 Durga Puja by breaking all established traditions amid the pandemic.” The shadow of COVID-19 took the Durga Puja culture of Cuttack 100 years back, he lamented.