If it’s Durga Puja, it’s throwing all caution, all austerity to the wind in the millennium city. The skyrocketing prices of gold and silver, hovering around Rs 32,000 per 10 gm and Rs 61,000 a kg respectively, might have put the metals out of the reach of the people but they have not proved a deterrent to the Chauliaganj Puja Committee.
Even as the country has witnessed a steep fall in demand for gold, by at least 30 per cent against last year’s, the Chauliaganj Puja Committee is poised to gift its deity Goddess Durga, a massive crown worth over 3 kg weight in gold.
The crown has been crafted in exquisite filigree work of Cuttack with the motif of a peacock in dance, replete with its enchanting plumage in full display.
The famous filigree artist Biswanath Dey and his son Ajay Dey, among the last continuing practitioners of the traditional craft, have been entrusted with the job. And the result is stunning.
It has taken more than six months for us to complete the work. It has been crafted in a unique blend of the intricate filigree art and the modern styles.
The dancing peacock crown will be the major attraction of this year’s Durga Puja here,” said master craftsman Ajay Dey. The gold has been acquired over a period by the Puja Committee. A whopping ` 45 lakh has been spent on its making.
“With boom in gold prices, we were not in a position to buy the metal in bulk. We resorted to buying gold in small quantities all through the year, specifically monitoring the prices and jumping at the opportunity of a fall,” said secretary of Chauliaganj Puja Committee Siba Sahoo.
The puja mandap has already installed the Chandi Medha (silver backdrop) since 1999. More than three quintals of silver has been used in the backdrop. Gold ornaments like chain, bangles, earrings weighing over 500 gm have also been made for the deity in subsequent years.