One, who has been to Kolkata during Durga Puja, must have figured out the reason why the city is called the City of Joy. These four days, the Puja fever captures the heart of everyone in the city irrespective of age, caste, class or gender. The entire state of West Bengal welcomes Goddess Durga and her children, along with Mahishasura, the mighty demon, with hearts filled with unintelligible emotions of togetherness and joy.
Although Durga Puja festivities are yet to begin, the city has geared up to welcome Sharodiya with again some new plans. Theme puja is not a new thing for the Kolkata vasi but this year the pandal organisers are experimenting with yet some new themes. Chief Minister’s visit to Vatican City will remain the core attraction of this year’s Durga Puja celebrations. Accompanying this, there will also be pandals which will feature Singur gram. Not only special theme but the pandal organisers have decided to dig out social and developmental issues through their pandal decoration.
Instead of the traditional theme pujo this year Jodhpur Park Puja committee has decided to think out of the box and opted to decorate their pandal with the 3-D pictures of the Hand pulled rickshaws which is one among the several heritage of the city. Another attraction for this year’s sharodiya pujo visitors will be the 24 pargana pally’s theme to have their pandal with bio degradable papers. “We want to promote the use of bio degradable materials in the state and this will be our small initiative to do that,” said Rahul Dey, committee in charge of pargana pally.
Carrying the old tradition forward, the Baishnabghata Balak Samiti puja committee has once again come up with innovative ideas which will track the 19 years of the journey of Mother Teresa. This pandal will showcase the journey of the Nobel laureate Mother who had served the poor and the sick on the streets of Kolkata. “The main inspiration came up when WB Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee together with her party members went to witness the event in the Vatican City,” said Pradipta Pal, organiser head.
Suruchi Sangha puja committee has modelled Mother Teresa’s house as their pandal . Not only Vatican City but also the Singur will remain this year’s main attraction DumDum Park, North 24 Parganas and Swabhumi has captured the essence of Singur’s natural beauty and the life of the farmers. Similarly, 25 Palli puja committee has used a similar approach by modelling their pandal on theme of the flyover collapse in Girish Park in Kolkata.
While many other traditional Durga Puja in north Kolkata, like Shimla Byam Samiti and Bagbajar Sarbojanin has continued to run their traditional form of Pujo and has devoid of any themes. One of the oldest pandals in the city, Mohammad Ali Park pandal, has depicted various phases of the freedom fighter Kabi Najrul and the pandal at Santosh Mitra Square is modelled on propagating the message of save life save drive and initiative which earlier this month had gripped the city with effective measures taken by the Chief minister to check on the rising numbers of road accidents..
Whatever the appearance of Puja may be, when it comes to following the tradition, there are no exceptions. There are other countless must-do rituals and traditions that are attached with Durga Puja. And perhaps this is what brings the entire Bengali community together. While some of them are scripted in shastras, and the others have become an integral part of the city’s own culture over the years.
Apart from all these the religious rituals, Durga Puja in Kolkata has its own charm and trademark features that make it all the more exclusive.