I have been covering the Ganesh idol makers for several years – 4 years in Trivandrum and 2 years in Chennai. This is the first time I had an opportunity to visit the Durga idol makers in Chennai.
When I visited the Thakkar Baba Vidyalaya shed 10 days ago, the idols were just taking shape. The workers encouraged me to come a week later when the idols will be in more advanced stage of completion.
The second visit was more fruitful I was also able to meet the chief of the team, Mr Kishori Mohan Pal. He and his team of 6 had come from 24 Parganas, West Bengal, three months ago. The clay for the idols is also brought form the banks of the Ganges. Mr Pal added that he has been coming to Chennai since 1982. His long association with Chennai was evident in his familiarity with even minor landmarks and suburbs of this city. Besides Chennai, the idols are also sent out to places like Hyderabad, Alwaye, etc.
While the Ganesh making teams had both men and women , this Durga team had only men.
Shot on Samsung Note 9
A note on Besant Nagar Durga Puja: The pujo at Besant Nagar used to be a great attraction for Durga devotees and others. The Besant Nagar Community Hall where it used to be held is being demolished to make way for another building. My friend, Mr Atanu Poddar, informs me that the pujo will be held with the full devotional rituals in the premises of South Madras Cultural Association at Indira Nagar, Adyar. Due to the protocol specified by the authorities, it will not be open to public but will be live webcast for wider viewing.