Thanks to globalisation, some leading theme-based puja committees are all set to showcase a slice of the US and UK in the Durga Puja pandals. Iconic landmarks of the US will be recreated in a unique collage at the ‘Badamtala Asar Sangha’ puja in south Kolkata where the goddess will be placed in a hall resembling a banquet hall, which will be surrounded with replicas made of steel and wood, puja committee spokesman Sandip Chakraborty said. “As 2017 is US-India Travel and Tourism Partnership Year, we want to celebrate the occasion and also the global profile of Bengalis who are now spread all over the world, including the US and hold influential positions,” he said.
However, the idol will retain the traditional Bengali look, “As we do not want to do any experiment in this aspect,” the spokesman of ‘Badamtala Asar Sangha’, one of the biggest crowd pullers in the city, said. The organisers of “75 Palli” puja at Bhowanipore, also in south Kolkata, are converting 40,000 square feet area in front of their puja pandal into a typical London street, according to a puja committee member, Moloy Dey. “In this space, we plan to introduce a slice of London where the Big Ben will be recreated to give the visitors a feel of the place,” Dey said. He said that the London street replica would also help spread Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s message of transforming Kolkata, once the second city in the British empire, into London. Dey said the idol would be made from mahogany wood, dokra, a non-ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting technique, and brass by artisans from Darjeeling. The lights of the pandal will resemble those on the streets of London, he said.
Another mega budget puja committee in central Kolkata, ‘Santosh Mitra Square’ will also depict a public square of London in the forecourt of their pandal in a typical congested area of Kolkata. While the inside of the pandal will sport a traditional look, complete with a gigantic chandelier and traditional decorations, the exterior will resemble an important London landmark, Sajal Ghosh said on behalf of the organisers. The idol will, however, sport a traditional look. With multiple awards instituted by corporates and state agencies for the best puja and crowds thronging the award-winning pujas, the community puja organisers are increasingly hooked to creative themes.