Bhubaneswar: Lord Vishwakarma, the god of architecture, is worshipped all over India. In Odisha, this has always been a very popular festival. But, like last year, this time too coronavirus pandemic has dampened the celebrations.
Restrictions imposed by the state authorities have further subdued the festivity in different parts of Odisha. According to the government orders, puja will have to be conducted indoors only, idols shall be less than four feet, no use of public address system and a ban on immersion procession have taken the sheen off the celebrations.
In places like Paradip, Rourkela, Cuttack, Hirakud, Nalco Nagar at Angul and other industrial sites, it is a major festival with a lot of religious customs and traditions that last for a full week. For the locals, it is not an occasion to be missed at any cost as it is marked with many other celebrations and programmes. Gigantic gates, illuminated pandals and huge tableaus are seen in the industrial townships. Workers worship the moustachioed Lord to increase their efficiency and productivity in the fields and factories on the occasion which is followed by two days of merriment and revelry. All these will have to wait, maybe next year.
On the other hand, at the idol centre at Old Town of Bhubaneswar, the forlorn artisans await customers with the small idols. There are hardly any takers and community pujas are not being allowed. The dwarf-sized idols mounted on Lilliputian elephants are a far cry from the grand idols that were worshipped when good times prevailed.
“Every year, I used to get orders to make anything between 200 to 250 Vishwakarma idols. This year I have got orders for only 20 idols, that too only small ones of two to three feet which are hardly worth the efforts” said Krushna Maharana. Many government institutions have asked the workers to perform the rituals in front of a photo.
Lord Vishwakarma, the son of Brahma, the chief architect of the world, is a divine craftsman who designed Dwarka, which is now submerged in the Arabian Sea and Maya Sabha for the Pandavas. The ancient cities of Indraprastha, Hastinapur and Lanka were designed by him.
Another popular folklore related to Vishwakarma is that he sculpted the Puri Jagannath idols. He is also attributed to have designed and built several weapons for Gods like Shiva’s Trishul, Vishnu’s Sudarshan Chakra, Ravana’s Pushpak Viman and Indra’s Vajra (thunderbolt).