Durga Puja: Why Durga Idol Makers in Kolkata Collect Soil From Brothels?

 Durga Puja: Why Durga Idol Makers in Kolkata Collect Soil From Brothels? - Sakshi Post

Durga Puja festival or the Navaratri (nine nights) will commence from September 26th after the Mahalaya amavasya and end on October 4th this year 2022.

What comes to one’s mind are the famed idols of Durga Ma of Kolkota. These beautiful idols with the mukut and her ten arms are made in the bylanes of Kumartuli in Kolkata by artisans who painstakingly make them with clay for the festivities. As per reports in News18, the kumars or the potter create the chinmayi or clay idols, which are made mrinmoyi through the ritualistic practices of the priest during the five-day festivities.

Behind this ritual is an age-old tradition where the clay is brought down the river Hoogly from Uluberia, a village near the city, which has the specific type of clay ideal for shaping and making the idols that are painted later exquisitely with traditional white and red colours, bringing the idol to life.

Not only is the clay from the banks of the river used in making the idols of Goddess Durga but as per Hindu tradition, there are four other elements used in making the goddess idols. The materials include mud from the banks of the Ganga, cow dung, cow urine, and soil from outside brothels, known as ‘Nishiddho Pallis’, without which the idol is considered incomplete.

Earlier as per tradition, the soil was to be begged and received from a sex worker’s hand as a gift and blessing since it is known as ‘punya mati’ or the sacred soil and was earlier collected by the priest.

Over a period of time, and changing rituals, the clay now is still collected by the person who makes the idol, months before the festivities who now continue this quaint tradition.

It is believed that the soil is considered to be blessed because people who visit the forbidden lanes of prostitutes leave behind their virtue and piety at the doorstep to enter the world of carnal desires and sin. The soil then imbibes all the virtues and becomes blessed.

There is another version that stated that as per the ancient scripts woman are classified into nine types of women known as Navkanyas who are to be worshipped, and revered during Durga Puja. A nati (dancer/actress), a vaishya (prostitute), rajaki (laundry girl), a brahmani (Brahmin girl), a shudra, a gopala (milkmaid) are some of them. There is also a hidden meaning of inclusivity in this ritual where during the time of Navaratri all are one and same and respect is to be accorded to all women irrespective of caste or class…

Do you have any interesting traditions that are followed during the Dasara times in your region? Do share them in the comments section below.

Also Read: Hyderabad Navratri Utsav 2022 Dandiya Dhamal Tickets: Where to Book

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