Reviews

Most books on India’s vedic culture, its deities and religious stories tend to be verbose and complicated almost tending to be boring for the uninitiated. This book is different. It is an attempt to bring the story of Durga an important deity from North India to the non-Hindu readers as well as Hindu readers in a visually appealing and enticing manner.

The book is at once defining two parallel stories – one story of Durga the deity and another of the idol makers who create it every year for its worshippers and followers to rever her and celebrate her divine power.

The festival of Durga Pooja is to be believed by living through it; the preparation of the idols, the “Mandap” or stage where the idol is placed for its worshippers to admire her beauty and power, the dance and music, the arti (religious songs) and the ultimate “Visarjan” or immersion of the idol in its final home – the holy river.

Smrita’s book takes you through this epic journey in a wonderful and captivating photo journal. The book is laid out in a simple and easy to follow layout with a story-like narration. This book is an excellent resource for learning about an important aspect of Indian history and culture. The book is fun to read and get familiar with the subject.

Smrita has dedicated her book to the hard-working artists who bring idols to life from lifeless mud and who stand aside and let the worshippers rever their goddess and mother. Even when the worshippers immerse the idols to the depths of the holy rivers across India – to forever reside in the depths of the rivers and never to be seen again the artists begin the work on the new idols for the next year again.

“Creating Durga” is a platform to recognize the hardwork of these artists and explains what makes Durga Pooja such a revered festival.

I highly recommend this book for adding it to your permanent library.

 

Words cannot do justice to the awesomeness of this book!!!

This is critical work that fills a definite gap. Plenty has been written about Durga and the associated festivities but never has anyone chronicled the journey of Durga’s creation like this book.

What adds to the uniqueness of this book is the way each step of creating the Durga idol has been visually captured by the author. The progression from black and white images to color is at first hardly noticeable but upon closer inspection adds to the veracity of the subject. The latter half of the book is filled with colorful images of the Durga festival and almost makes you feel part of the festivities. My two favorite images from the book are:
1. The cover page, which beautifully captures a calm Durga in a subtle interplay of black and white
2. The image where women throw sindoor on each other, which is a wonderful pop of bright color

The layout of the book is appealing and easy to read and follow. The narrative is lucid, well thought out, and has a subtle story-like feel to it. The author has clearly done her research and it shows. She has cleverly explained the history of the subject without going into boring, confusing details and has stressed on key points to the right level of depth. The explanation is easy and is written keeping in mind an audience that might not be familiar with the subject.

What is also appreciable about this book is that the author clearly gives due credit to the artists that create the Durga idols. This book acknowledges the artists’ work and gives it platform for global recognition. The author has truly captured what makes Durga real – the hard work of the creators of Durga.

A highly recommended book, which is worth adding to your library!

 

3_DURGA

This book is a must have! Smrita transports you on an intimate photographic journey through the behind-the-scene moments of the Durga Festival. Durga has been described as a deity, a goddess and even a fierce warrior. I for one am capitivated by her gentle features, knowing eyes and awe-like presence. Smrita manages to capture the true essence of the feminine Durga and the very heart and dedication of the goddess’ worshippers. The construction of the event, the colors and the candid moments reveal that traditions are still sacred. Smrita’s compilation of photos have you longing to visit India and take part in this auspicious event. Om Shanti. Namaste. Ohm.