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Kolkata, India - October 03, 2011: A "pandal", a Hindu religious display of the goddess Durga. The latter is fashioned from clay, mud, and sand; then elaboratly painted as in this photograph. The shot was taken at the pandal display in the New Market area of Chowringhee, Kolkata during the week-long festival of Durga Puja in October.
Durga Puja is an annual Hindu festival that worships the Hindu goddess, Durga. It is a 6 day long festival. Figures of the goddess and her divine entourage are fashioned by skilled artists from mud, clay, and sand dredged from the local river Hooghly in Kolkata, Bengal, India where Durga Puja is the biggest Hindu festival. Pandals, which are various representations of the goddess, demons, and other divinities, spring up all over the streets of Kolkata during the festival. Sometimes these Pandals are so elaborate that they can cost a lot of money. Apart from the clay/mud/sand used traditionally, Pandals can be fashioned from wood, bamboo, metal etc. and any material the artist chooses. At the end of the weeklong festival the Goddess Durga is returned to the river from whence she came. This photograph shows just one stage in the creation process.