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Maa Durga bringing joy to silver filigree artisans of Odisha

by Rishika Choudhury

Date & Time: Sep 26, 2022 11:11 AM

Read Time: 2 minute

This year, Maa Durga is bringing joy to the silver filigree artisans of Cuttack, Odisha. Due to the pandemic, business has been down for the last two years, but this year the craftspeople have been working all night to ensure that the goddess is welcomed with the best silver decorations and offerings they can possibly create for her.

Durga Puja is being celebrated this year from October 1 to October 5, and beautiful pandals are being built for Durga as well as Saraswati, Lakshmi, Ganesha, and Karthik.

Cuttack is well known for its delicate silver filigree work, and approximately 200 silversmiths are banking on the puja festivities this year to earn handsomely.

Artisans are creating beautiful accessories in silver called Chandi Medhas (chandi means silver and medha means tableau) at the puja pandals across Cuttack. 

Silversmiths embellish the goddess and the space where she stands with silver filigree work.

"The Chandi Medha was first introduced at the Choudhury Bazaar puja pandal where 300 kilogrammes of silver were used to decorate the pandal in 1956 in Cuttack," 
Biswanath De, a 58-year-old artisan of Cuttack told

"Filigree work of Cuttack is also known as Tarakasi. The demand for silver filigree works for the Chandi Medhas keep us busy at this time. This year, not just Cuttack but six other puja committees from Bhubaneswar and Dhenkanal have also decided to go with silver decoration," he said happily.

In many of the annual pujas, the silver work is reused from past years. The accessories are repaired, polished and refurbished, De said.

Silver filigree work of Cuttack

Haripada Das and his entire family are bent over their craft. They are busy fulfilling orders to make decorative filigree items that will decorate puja pandals.

"Some puja committees have also placed orders for us to create entire costumes in silver filigree for the earthen images of Maa Durga," the 48- year-old Haripada Das who lives in Dagarapada in Cuttack told.

The silver filigree work is as old as 500 years, may be more, explained artisan Pankaj Sahoo who lives in Chandni Chowk in Cuttack. "We make necklaces, toe rings, anklets, waist bands, bracelets, vermillion boxes, brooches, pendants, earrings, hairpins, figures of animals and birds, and even miniature handbags and other souvenirs," he said.

But, according to Sahoo the best time of the year and the most profitable for them were the months leading to Durga Puja. "It costs around Rs 75 lakh to one crore rupees to make a Chandi Medha. Just repairing and polishing a Chandi Medha costs anything between one to three lakh rupees," he said.

In Cuttack alone there are 28 Chandi Medhas that require refurbishing and repairs on them, Sahoo pointed out.

The silver filigree work is no mere decoration. "Our filigree works don't perish, they write history. So, when we are creating something, it's almost like we are documenting history, which will stand the test of time and be there for our next generation," Pravat Das, a craftsperson from Cuttack, said.

Also Read: Navratri 2022: Why Handful of Soil from Brothels Used to Make Idols of Goddess Durga

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