In Rig Veda, Vishwakarma is considered the top architect in prehistoric times and the patron deity of craftsmen along with Mayasura. Son of Prabhas and Yogasiddha, sister of Brihaspati, he built weapons, ammunition, palaces and chariots and designed the divine sacred geometry. According to legend, his daughter was Sanjana and son was Surya. The Rig-Veda describes Viswakarma as someone of multidimensional vision.
Vishwakarma was believed to be from the same lineage of Tvastar, who was the manufacturer of vajra, the special weapon of Indra, made with human backbone of Dadhichi. Vishwakarma was the builder of several cities like Dwaraka, a city ruled by Krishna; Hastinapur, the city for which later the Kauravas and Pandavas fought in the Mahabharata; and Indraprastha. After the final battle between the two enemy clans, Yudhishthira, the chief of the Pandavas, became the king of Hastinapur.
In the Mahabharata, it is said that the Dhritarashtra gave the Pandavas a piece of his kingdom. Krishna invited Vishwakarma to build there a city and named it Indraprastha. The palace built in the new capital of the Pandava princes was exceptional. The floors were so well made that anyone could see their reflection like the surface of the water. On the other hand, ponds, gardens gave the illusion of a flat surface without boundaries.
Once the new home was built, the Pandavas invited the Kauravas. Duryodhana was so captivated by the wonders of the palace that he fell awkwardly in a pond. This mishap greatly amused Draupadi, the wife of Arjuna. She mocked him as the son of a blind, as Dhritarashtra, the father of Duryodhana was blind. Duryodhana went into a mad rage and it only strengthened his desire for revenge against the Pandavas.
The Mahabharata describes him as executor of a thousand handicrafts, the carpenter, the most eminent of artisans and the couturier of all ornaments. He is considered the supreme worker, the very essence of excellence and quality in artesans. It was he who formulated the Sthapatya, the vedas or the science of mechanics and architecture. As a craftsman, Vishvakarma was also the designer of the flying chariots and weapons. He created weapons of warriors like the disc of Vishnu, the trident for Shiva, the sword for Kartikeya.
Vishwakarma is considered the sculptor of the temple of Jagannath, a sacred Hindu temple in Puri famous for its huge wooden statues of Krishna and his siblings Subhadra and Balaram. Viswakarma along with Mayasura also designed the Lanka palace, made entirely of gold, where King Ravana lived and later abducted and kept Sita, the wife of the King Rama.
The history of the construction says that when Shiva married Parvati, he asked Vishwakarma to build him a beautiful palace. Shiva invited the wise priest Ravana to execute the griha pravesh ritual conducted before entry into a new house. After the sacred ceremony, Shiva offered to Ravana to ask anything as Dakshina (honorarium). Ravana, in love with the grandeur of the golden palace, asked Shiva that he wanted a golden palace himself. Shiva was forced by the customs to accede to the desire, and so Lanka became the palace of Ravana. Later, There Ravana married Mayasura's daughter Mandodari and stayed there.
Viswakarma Puja observed especially in Bengal is celebrated on the day when the sun enters the constellation during the last day of hindu month of Bhadrapada (September). In modern day Viswakarma is portrayed with a crown and gold jewelry, and four hands, holding a pot of water, a book, a scarf, and craftsman tools. To celebrate the day, the factories located in the state are closed and tools used by artisans are not used, to offer their prayers and the machines to receive the blessings, with the hope of having a better year.
Flowers and fruits are offered to the clay idols of Viswakarma along with rice and sweets, praying for protection and giving thanks. Vishwakarma Puja is a time of making resolutions for the workers and artisans to increase productivity and prosper, but also to receive divine inspiration for creating new products.
This ritual usually takes place in the premises of the factory or workshops. Vishwakarma Puja is also associated with the custom of flying kites. This festival marks the beginning of a long period of festivals culminating with Diwali.