The history of Bharatvarsha boasts of excellence in the field of art and architecture. From the Brihadeshwara temple in the deep south of India to the temple of Ma Kamakhya in the North-East, India has always been a land of outstanding architects, artisans and craftsmen who have created unique pieces of jewellery, coins, toys, handmade tools and arms and chariots. The high-rises of today’s metropolitan cities in no way, come even an inch closer to these stupendous pieces of original, Indic architecture. We Indians today take pride in the posh, luxuriously built hotels and residencies where we love to spend our vacations, but have failed to acknowledge the fabulous architectural prowess of our own ancestors! A country which once boasted of distinctive excellence in each and every field, whether it be art, literature, culture, scientific and technological advancements, etc. has, unfortunately, become a bastion where mediocrity is not only glorified but also promoted. 

Vishwakarma or Devashilpi (divine architect who is the master of several divine arts and crafts) is the son of Lord Brahma and the Hindu deity of architecture and engineering. He is revered every year on September 17 or 18 (depending upon the tithi as per the Vedic calendar), largely in the Eastern Indian states of Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, and Tripura. It is also celebrated in a few areas of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka where kite-flying is observed as a part of the rituals. Several kite festivals are organised on the occasion of Vishwakarma Puja, with colourful kites covering up the whole sky.

In West Bengal, it is celebrated on the last day of the Bengali month of Bhadra, and hence, the day is also known as Bhadra or Kanya Sakranti. In Assam, the festival of Vishwakarma Puja marks the beginning of an entire festive season which includes Durga Puja, Diwali, Lakshmi Puja, Kati Bihu and extends upto Bhogali Bihu in the following year. The entire city of Guwahati is decorated with the clay idols of Vishwakarma on this day, adorned with twinkling lights illuminating the skyline, amid sparkling malls and shopping complexes. Both big and small pandals are erected with elaborate arrangements in almost all the localities here, ushering in a festive fervour and strengthening community bonds. 

Clay idols of Vishwakarma on display. Picture Credits: NewsLive TV, Assam.

The birth of Vishwakarma is believed to be associated with the episode of Samudra Manthan/Sagar Manthan in Hindu philosophy which explains the origin of the magical nectar (Amrita). Both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and the Rig Veda too, are replete with several references of Vishwakarma, also popularly known as the ‘God of Vaastu-Shastra’. Detailed references of Vishwakarma craftsmen have been found in the Sangam literature from Tamil Nadu. In the Ramayana, Vishwakarma was the divine architect who accompanied the victorious army of Prabhu Shri Ram to Lanka. He had also built flying chariots like the Pushpakvimana of Ravana, sacred weapons like the vajra of Indra, the trishul of Shiva and the sudarshan chakra of Vishnu.

The Mahabharata too, speaks in glorious length about the architectural brilliance of Vishwakarma as the builder of magnificent palaces, and the creator of Swarglok in Satya Yug, Lanka in Treta Yug, and Lord Krishna’s capital Dwarka in the Dwapar Yuga, besides the Mayasabha of the Pandavas, Indraprastha and Hastinapur where the Kauravas and the Pandavas resided, respectively. The idols of Balabhadra, Subhadra, and Lord Jagannath that are worshipped in the famous Jagannath temple at Puri, Odisha are also believed to have been created by Vishwakarma himself.

It needs to be mentioned here that there is an entire community of artisans spread across different regions of India, who identify themselves as the direct descendants of Vishwakarma. Primarily concentrated in the northern and eastern belts of the country, they trace their line of descent to Vishwakarma who, they believe, has actually passed on to them the rules and principles related to construction and artistry. The Vishwakarma caste in India is a composite of five disparate communities of artisans and craftsperson which include carpenters, blacksmiths, bronze-smiths, goldsmiths and people who are engaged in stone masonry/sculpture. With the gradual needs and demands of the time, most of them took up other professions but they have kept alive their ‘vishwakarma’ vidya/skill. They might not have had the luxury of access to modern English education, but are blessed with an inherent ability to construct, create and beautify designs and structures.

Vishwakarma Puja is celebrated with much fanfare by people who are engaged in the activities of masonry, construction and manufacturing, such as architects, artisans and craftsmen, mechanics, industrial and factory workers, etc. It celebrates the bonding between man and machinery, and thereby holds a place of special significance in the festive calendar of the states where it is celebrated, witnessing the participation of people belonging to almost all age-groups. All shops, factories, warehouses and industries observe a complete no-work day on this occasion and their tools and equipments too, come to a halt as a mark of respect and obeisance to Vishwakarma and his vahana – the elephant. All technical devices and electronic goods are worshipped on this day.

Picture Credits: Planet Odisha

It is believed that the livelihood of the workers’ depends upon the healthy functioning and efficiency of their tools and equipments. Hence, Vishwakarma Puja provides them with an opportunity to seek the deity’s divine grace for increasing their work productivity, to think of novel ideas and thus ensure all-round professional success in their respective fields. It is considered as the biggest celebration for any factory, office, shop or other professional establishments that are dependent upon machinery for their day-to-day functioning.

All forms of machinery and vehicles including scooters, motorcycles and cars are exquisitely decorated with flowers, cleaned and worshipped on this day. Several workplaces also declare their annual bonus on this day for their employees. Special puja rituals are being conducted either in individual households or in the pandals that are especially constructed for the deity. An akhand diya is being lit and aarti is performed followed by the distribution of pushpanjali among the devotees. Depending upon their financial status, workers may also choose to purchase new tools and machinery which are taken to the pandals for special worship, seeking the blessings of Vishwakarma so that no untoward accidents occur in the future during their usage.

The celebration of Vishwakarma Puja ushers in a fresh vibrancy after a month-long mourning of Pitru-Paksh that is observed in remembrance of our dead ancestors in several parts of the country. A significant aspect of the celebrations is that it unites both the owners and labourers of factories, who have their meals together after the puja gets over. It is also considered an auspicious occasion to start any new venture in one’s career, to fulfil wishes related to the buying of a house or land, starting a new business, etc.


  3. Vijaya Ramaswamy. Vishwakarma Craftsmen in Early Medieval Peninsular India. Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. Vol. 47. No. 4 (2004), pp. 548-582.

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