Creation of the sculptures
The entire process of creation of the sculptures murti from the collection of clay to the ornamentation is a holy process, supervised by rites and other rituals. On the Hindu date of Akshaya Tritiya when the Ratha Yatra is held, clay for the sculptures is collected from the banks of a river, preferably the Ganges. There is ageold custom of collecting a handful of soil punya mati from the nishiddho pallis of Calcutta, literally forbidden territories, where sex workers live, and adding it to the clay mixture which goes into the making of the Durga sculpture. After the required rites, the clay is transported. An important event is Chakkhu Daan, literally donation of the eyes. Starting with Devi Durga, the eyes of the sculptures are painted on Mahalaya or the first day of the pujas. Before painting on the eyes, the artisans fast for a day and eat only vegetarian food.Many Pujas in and around Kolkata buy their sculptures from Kumartuli also Kumortuli, an artisans town in north Calcutta.