DEATH'S WELL PERFORMERS
THREAD TEMPLE AMIDST THE BUSY ROADS OF SURAT.
“A single thread of hope is stronger than all the chains that bind you.”
It is with this hope that the circular migrants’ settlement on the developing BRTC track of Surat, keep coming back, bringing along with them their cultures. A beautiful display of which was witnessed amidst one of the busy roads of Surat, where some of these migrants, from Kolkata, who are into road construction,had built a temporary temple of threads to celebrate Vishvakarma day, on the 18th of September, 2014. A simple cotton thread can be woven to form a piece of cloth, but here these migrant laborers had used it to create a beautiful temple of some 7 feet high, to honor their god Vishvakarma. Vishvakarma is a Hindu god, who is considered to be the divine architect, who have constructed many architectural marvels and fabulous weapons for the gods. On this day all artisans, craftsmen, mechanics, smiths, welders, industrial and factory workers worship the god for a better future, safe working conditions and success. They worship the idol of the god, along with the worship of their tools. A priest is called in, to conduct the ceremonial prayers followed by the visarjan (letting go of the image of the deity in running water) of the image in the river Tapi. The temple took some two days to complete and was constructed by the group effort of all workers residing in that particular area. These workers have been here since last two years, with occasional visit back home for holidays. The workers who made this temple are from Kolkata and say that they have been into making this kind of temples since long. They have not been trained but they have learnt it over years by seeing fellow workers make it. Their material choice varies every time. This time they used threads, with a bangle being the centre for all the sides. It is from the bangle that the thread seems to radiate out to the number of nails pinned in the wooden structure erected in the form of a temple. They had also used artificial flowers to aesthetically decorate the visible wooden columns. After the worship this temporary abode is left abandoned. An art of a state 1,500 km away, has travelled Surat,all the way with these migrants, who are not only helping in petty jobs but also enriching Surat with the culture they bring in.Seeing this temple is an amazing experience and it makes you wonder that how creative these workers who have no formal training can be.
Text : Jasmine Kaur