Hoping to bewitch revellers with its radiance and opulence, a goddess Durga idol made of 50 kg gold worth around a whopping Rs 20 crore is nearing completion at a community puja marquee in central Kolkata.
The 13-feet tall idol is coming up at the famed Santosh Mitra Square, earlier called Lebutala, about 700 meter from the bustling Sealdah Railway station, making the organisers confident of the marquee becoming The Destination during the coming five-day Durga puja carnival – the biggest festival in this part of the world – beginning October 4.
“Nobody has ever in the past conceived the form of the goddess in pure gold. It is our kanak durga (gold Durga) made of 50 kg of the costly yellow metal from top to bottom.” Said the community puja marquee president Pradip Ghosh.
With ten grams of gold now costing close to Rs 40,000, the Durga idol itself would be valued at around Rs 20 crore.
However, it is not that the puja organisers have spent such an astounding amount from their pocket to procure the yellow metal for the idol.
One or more gold jewellers have come forward to make the gold available for making the idol. They would get the gold back after the idol’s token immersion.
“We also have roped in a large number of multi-national corporates who have provided the fund for the idol and meet most of the cost for the festival,” said Sajal Ghosh, the secretary of the community puja.
The idols of the goddess’s sons lords Ganesh and Kartick and daughters lordesses Laxmi and Saraswati would, however, not be made of the shining metal.
This is not the first time that the Santosh Mitra puja organisers have resorted to such an ostentatious display of jewellery. In 2017, they had draped goddess Durga in a gold saree. Last year, She was astride a silver chariot.
Besides the idol, another big draw for the crowd would be the giant marquee – a replica of the under-construction Chandrodaya temple of Athe Vaishnava Hindu religious order International Society for Krishna Consciousness(ISKCON) in Nadia district’s Mayapur. Likely to be completed in 2022, it is set to become one of the largest temples in the world.
That is not all. Several tonnes of glass is being used to make a sheeshmahal in an grah styled decoration of the interiors of the canopy.
Around 200 artisans and workers have been toiling for the last two and a half months to give shape to the plans of the organisers.
“Our satisfaction is at a time when lots of gold artisans and other workers have no jobs, we have been able to provide the livelihood of these poor people,” said Sajal Ghosh.