Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivals in Odisha. It is celebrated with a lot of fanfare across the State and especially in Cuttack. Cuttack, a 1000 years old town of Odisha, is also known as the Silver City and the Millennium City. Thousands of people from across Odisha flock to Cuttack to see the dazzling celebrations of Durga Puja. Cuttack has been home to Durga Puja celebrations since the 15th Century.
The biggest attraction during Durga Puja are the Puja “Pandals” with the idol of the Goddess. The backdrop of the idol is made bright and attractive.
The local artisans showcase their craftsmanship on the Puja Pandals in the form of Chandi Medha (Silver Tableaux). Both the Pandals and the Jewelry adorned by the idol is made of Silver Filigree.
Image: Silver Filigree Tableaux and Jewellery at Durga Puja Pandals in Cuttack
The idol of the Goddess adorns a silver crown with peacocks, fish and flowers being the most common patterns. The idol also adorns a very long and thick silver filigree necklace, bajuband (armlet), kamarbandh (waist belt) and bangles. The tableaux in the pandals usually have patterns of peacock, Shankh (conch) and flowers.
Images: Peacock and floral patterns on Tableaux and Jewellery of Goddess Durga idol
The silver filigree craftsmanship is very intricate and It takes about 20 skilled artisans working 8 hours a day for 2 years to make a silver filigree pandal.
It takes 300-400 kgs of silver to make a pandal backdrop (tableau). The idol adorns jewellery of about 50 kgs, with the crown itself weighing 20 kgs.
Local Puja Committees of each locality are responsible for organizing the celebrations in their locality. The more a Puja Committee has access to funds, the more gold and silver is used in the pandals. There is a healthy competition between Committees to make the pandals more attractive.
There are about 160 Puja Committees in Cuttack, with about 22 Committees having Silver tableaux in Cuttack, and the number increases every year.
All we can say is that the flaunting of the elegant and impressive Silver Filigree craftsmanship in the Puja Pandals is definitely here to stay for a really long time!