Tradition meets modernity at the puja mandaps

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Dhaka, Oct 21 (UNI) To keep up with the pace of changing times and contemporary life, the image of godess Durga has adopted a modern look while keeping alive the traditional appeal.

With the entry of modern artisans in the process of idol making and the hiring of designers and fine arts students for puja mandap decoration, Durga is taking a sleeker mould in a new imaginative ambience.

The posture, physique, curves and ornamentation of the deity have deviated from the traditional form, say puja organisers.

Now the city's two main puja mandaps -- Dhakeshwari Temple and the Mahanagar Sharbojanin Puja Mandap at Lalbagh -- wear a 'corporate look' with various private companies sponsoring the festival.

''It is true that the face of Durga differs from its traditional feature these days. Her figure resembles the body of a sophisticated figure conscious woman. In the last decade the pratima (idol) has undergone some major changes,'' The Daily Star quoted Mahanagar Sharbojanin Puja Committee vice president Kajal Debnath as saying.

The involvement of the middle class in the puja arrangements has made it a community puja, which added the taste and imagination of many to the process. Popular demand influenced the idol making.

This year more than 162 puja mandaps were set-up in the city compared to around 100 last year. About 20,000 puja mandaps were set up all around the country.

A renowned pratima shilpi Sukumer Paur said, '' Idol making has become an occasion to showcase the dexterity of the artist. With time, a sense of competition has evolved among the organisers and artisans.'' Today both artisans and devotees admire the artistic Durga that has all the features of modern woman in her. Making her exterior attractive became important.

However, no matter how much the deity is changing her mould, the basic religious conviction is still there. Her primary mythological function is to combat demons who threaten the stability of the divinity.

UNI

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