Sunday, October 10, 2010

Goddess Stands Tall To Bestow Blessings

It is festive season in Nepal. Great festivals: Dashain and Tihar are in the offing. In the hills, people are busy brewing raksi and bargaining for buffalos and goats while in the villages, people are cleaning the road and decorating their houses.

In many Terai districts, numerous statues of goddess Durga have been erected in the eve the greatest festival Dashain.

Dashain or Bijaya Dashain is celebrated–in memory of victory of goddess Durga over demon Maisasur–worshipping the images of the goddess that resemble the epic war. People also worship other gods and goddesses: Ganesh, Saraswoti, Kumar.

It would be interesting to observe how these beautiful statues of the gods, goddesses and the demon would be created. Wooden or bamboo frame is fixed on the sturdy wooden foundation. Thick mass of hay is stuffed and tied with strings on these frame to give proper shape.

Limbs are made of hay only; no wooden support is needed. Sticky and fine clay without sand is required to make statue. In order to make clay strong and sticky, small pieces of jute (sack) is mixed with clay. Cutting pieces of jute sack should be soaked in water to make it soft so that it could be easily blended with clay.

Layers of clay plaster on the figure give the desired shape and size of body, limbs and face. Then these statues are left for some four days to get dry properly. Artists paint the statues using water color. These statues get animated with the painting and decoration with proper clothes and ornaments. Cover from the face of goddess will be taken off from Phulpati or Saptami (the seventh day from Ghatasthapana).

Dashain is generally celebrated for 15 days but main puja (worshipping and offering) of Nava Durga (nine manifestations of the goddess Durga: Shilapurti, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Shandamata, Kaatyayani, Kaalratri, Maha Gauri and Siddhidatri) is done for 9 days (navaratri) starting from Ghatastapana to Nawami.

Tenth day being Bijaya Dashami, the glorious victory day, is celebrated by receiving Tika (red paste on forehead), Jamara (yellow barley sprout) and blessing from the elders. More than religious aspect, Dashain signifies the culture of family reunion, communal harmony, happiness and peace.

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