Essays from INDIA: From dust to god
The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground (from the Bible, Genesis 2,7-22).
There is a place where quite the opposite happens: the district of Kumartuli, nestled on the banks of the Hooghly River in the northern suburbs of Kolkata. Even older than the capital of West Bengal itself, the district is a maze of narrow streets and alleys, and has long been home to a unique community — the Kumar artisans who specialize in crafting statues of Hindu deities. A wooden frame, straw and clay are used to create the statues. The materials arrive by boat and are then sculpted by the skilled hands of artists and transformed into magnificent idols used by devout Hindus for festivals, processions and private ceremonies.