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Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Hair is an important feature that plays an important part in feminine beauty. The elongated mane depicted in a Maa Durga idol is one of the most fascinating things about the goddess.
While Durga Puja is around the corner, everyone is excitedly waiting for the festival. An inevitable part of the festival is pandal hopping. These days, due to the competitive spirit among the puja organisers, almost every pandal is decorated around a theme. Different theme at every pandal means different look and appearance of the idols. The only thing that remains constant is the pretty long hair in Maa Durga idols.
Kumartuli, the hub of idol making in Kolkata, is famous for the creation of amazing idols. But the place people are less aware about is Parbatipur, a small village near Bargachia, Howrah. The place is not very far from Kolkata. Just 30km away from Kolkata is the village where the lustrous hair of the Goddess is made.
The hair is made up of jute bales. Using chemicals and colours, the bales are dyed into black. Then they are suspended using bamboo logs to dry. After that, the bales are removed and cut in different sizes, according to the need.
The amazing fact about the art of making hair is that it is made primarily by the Muslims. In India, where religious riots are often witnessed, this village truly holds the idea of “unity and diversity”.
In the 1960s, a Muslim famous by the name of Ekhlas Chacha had started the work. At that time, jute bale hair was in high demand. Ekhlas knew the art of making hair. He convinced the villagers, who were mostly illiterates having very low income, to start the work and turned it into a profession.
At present, the villagers make hair for almost 30,000 Durga idols.