02:43 GMT25 October 2020
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    The nine-day festival of “Durga Puja” is an annual Hindu celebration that reveres and pays homage to the Goddess Durga – a symbol of female power. During the nine days of the festival, various avatars of the goddess are worshipped across India. Makeshift tents are installed around the nation, where idols of the goddess are placed for worship.

    Every year, idol-makers and artisans across the country create idols of the Goddess Durga – and while many of them are created to look traditional, some of them are based on concepts to propagate social messages.

    The traditional image of the Goddess Durga is that of a fierce woman with big, bold eyes, long and curly hair, standing alongside a lion. This avatar of hers, clad in exquisite fabric and heavy jewellery, also shows her with several hands – each of them holding symbols of virtues, vices, and power, such as a trident, a lotus, a sword, and more.

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    This year, images of Durga idols surfacing on social media show them in never-before-seen transformations – for instance, an avatar of her as a migrant labourer mother nursing her child. 

    This Durga avatar depicting a troubled, but strong, migrant labourer is symbolic of the strength of the thousands of poor women who walked back to their hometowns and villages after major cities stood shut between March and August due to the pandemic-caused lockdown.

    Many of these mothers died on the way back due to heat, hunger, and thirst. Some mothers even lost their babies to the ruthless summer.

    Hence, pictures of Durga idols transformed into migrant labourer mothers have gone viral on social media, as they represent the power of a mother. Take a look. 

    ​Durga Puja begins on 22 October, and as the auspicious festival inches closer, pictures and videos of artisans getting more Durga idols ready to be placed in makeshift tents have been flooding social media, bringing in a festive vibe.

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    A post shared by Debmalya Bandyopadhyay (@debmalya_bandyopadhyay) on

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    A post shared by Kaberi Hazra (@kaberihazra) on

    On the last day of the festivities, the idols are immersed in bodies of water as a farewell to the goddess, who, according to Hindu mythology, is believed to return to her heavenly abode after visiting Earth until next year.

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