From Kolkata of yore to replicas of important monuments to imaginary fantasy land – this year’s Durga Puja festival is marked by theme-worship as the organisers focus on a blend of aesthetics and tradition.
In a throwback to the good old days, the Hindustan Park Puja in south Kolkata has put on display everyday use items like ‘janta’, stitched kantha and needle and reinvented the era when children flocked to their grandmas to hear fairy tales.
“We are recreating the ambience where the elderly lady would dry her grey hair under the afternoon sun in the courtyard of her house and the children would surround her for stories of “Bangoma-Bangomi”, one of the organisers said.
At Bhabanipore 75 Palli, visitors will be introduced to ‘Arshinagar’, the city of mirrors, where one can see his true self.
Through the gate of a 45-foot elephant the revellers will go to the ‘garbha griha’ (main spot) where the glass-panelled walls will retain references of Rajasthani folk art and mirror ourselves.
“We are also laying astro-turf grass before the pandal which speaks about saving green,” a puja committee spokesman said.
At 83-year-old Shovabazar Burtola Sarbojonin Durgotsab, north Kolkata’s dwindling number of cafes were highlighted. “Our intention is to portray Kolkata’s once-vibrant coffee culture, there will be rows of old world cafes which will lead upto the main pandal named interestingly Sri Durga Cabin”, Puja committee secretary Sayak Nandi said.
“The cafes in north Kolkata used to be frequented by people, including puja committee members, for a healthy discourse. Now big fast food joints threaten to usurp their places,” he rued.
At ‘Kolkata Pouro Karmochari Sarbojonin Durgostab Samity’ pandal, in Hazra area, ‘Bisorjon theke Bodhon’ is the theme.
“There are 13 idols which reflect different Durgas (including the half-finished ones or the ones brought up by little boys after immersion,” a puja committee spokesman said tracing the history of the puja, since it was started in 1942 by Netaji.
At Baghajatin Rabindrapally Sarbojanin Durgapuja Committee, the celebrated British Wax Museum Madame Tussauds has come up.
At Singhi Park, where the committee is celebrating the 75th Year, the pandal is built as a replica of the Ambaji Mata Temple situated near Mount Abu.
“The temple is a major Shakti Peeth of India. And there will be distinct sand stone architecture and a golden tomb on top like the original one,” a member said.
Not departing from the traditional Chandernagore ‘gharana’ – giant 3D electronic structures would be moving around. At Lake Youth corner – “the lost city” theme goes back to hundred years. There is a dilapidated temple having roots of banyan tree grown on it while on the background there will be tribal music and sound of cricket.