Monday, May 20, 2013
Last Updated: 19 May 20:04 PM IST
29 October 2012
Coordinators write about 10 superb, eco-friendly puja pandals that impressed them the most this Durga Puja
With the advent of autumn, Goddess Durga became part of our lives once again. And this year, she brought many eco-friendly pandals. Here are some magnificent ones with their beautiful idols in and around Kolkata, which captivated us.
Santoshpur Lake Pally: The theme in the 55h year of this puja was Abokhoyer Andhokhare Shantir Stob. The violence across the world has created mental turmoil in human beings. So, we pray to Ma Durga for a peaceful world. The goddess here did not hold any weapons; instead she clasped lotus flowers to show love, peace and equality. The artist Purnendu Dey had made the idol in the Buddhist style to symbolize peace and tranquillity. The main elements used in the making of this pandal were wood and metal. The ambience exuded calm and peace.
Santoshpur Trikon Park: This puja celebrated its 63rd anniversary this year. The theme of this beautiful and artistic pandal was Duare Dashobhuja. The artist Shiv Sankar Das has imagined a totally different world yet kept our Mother Earth in mind. He portrayed the three stages of life: water, greenery and the vast blue sky. Paper was shaped in different forms to create this pandal which seemed like a kadam flowers from outside. This puja was a complete mix of imagination, innovation and creation.
Selimpur Pally: The theme of this pandal was based on the famous lines “Gunjaria ashe oli punje punje dheye, tara phuler upor ghumiye pore phuler modhu kheye”, from a poem by DL Roy, one of Bengal's esteemed poets of the past. It was theme based but left space in the mind of spectators for their own imagination. The whole pandal was covered with black cloth and the magnificent lighting in all the colours of the rainbow gave it a mystical touch with an aesthetic look. Walking through the mystical flanked pathway, one reached the central part of the pandal, the main part. A modern-version of Ma Durga with her sons and daughters on her lap was situated at the bottom of a lotus whose petals were made up of boats. The lotus was shown floating on the surface of water and above it at some height, a beehive was depicted filled with bees storing sweet nectar. It conveyed the message that behind every natural phenomenon is the working of a mystical power. That power is Ma Durga.
Babubagan: The pandal here was a majestic temple made up of Bengal bamboo. It was a pagoda with geometric designs and artistic sculptures of living creatures on the outer walls. Although it didn't have a theme but it had the capacity to mesmerize people. The entrance to the Sun Temple-like structure was through a small square under an arched semi-dome. The inner walls were decorated in the same way. One unique thing about the pandal was its small but attractive jhar lanthan made of bamboo that enhanced the charm. The deity was created in the traditional style and enormous in size.
Shib Mandir: One of the oldest and most famous pandals in the city, it manages to surprise the crowd each and every year with an offbeat and unusual theme. This year's theme, however, was quite confusing and one needed to take a second round of the entire pandal to understand the concept. Once it was clearly implicit, the theme is sure to strike as ingenious: 'Srishti sukher ullashey.' All around DNA strands had been constructed out of plastic balls and clone formations adorned alongside. Theme artist Subrata Banerjee claimed human cloning as a malpractice and gave the message to put a halt to clone formation as the joy to giving birth to a normal human child by far surpasses that of a scientific human clone, and that such a practice is demeaning the purity of giving birth. The pandal showcased the scientific advance of mankind as well the old mythological importance ~ a skillful mingling of two totally different aspects of our life: mythology and science. The idol was another treat for the eyes~ Goddess Durga was depicted as the quintessence of a compassionate mother, yet full of grit and surrounded not only by her godly children, but humans as well, heads bowed in respect and love.
Tridhara Sanmmilani: This pandal found its strength by keeping it subtle and without too many complexities. Buddhism was this year's theme and made one feel transported to the Buddhist era altogether. Buddhist symbols and mythological incidents adorned the whole pandal. The eight lucky Buddhist symbols which are believed to bring anyone prosperity were found all around: 'Dug' (umbrella), 'Gyeltshen' (victory banner), 'Ser Neya' (golden fish), 'Metok' (lotus), 'Dung' (conch), 'Pal Bhew' (endless bound knot), 'Choikhor' (dharma chakra) and 'Tshe Bum' (vessel of life). In the middle of the pandal was a massive head of Gautam Buddha accompanied by two Buddhist mythological creatures alongside. Ma Durga and her children were also Buddhist in avatar, in fact the Mohishasur was a Buddhist mythological creature too! The pandal was complete with a Buddhist monastery and monks alongside the pandal. The depiction of Buddhism left everyone spellbound.
Kashi Bose Lane: This puja pandal on its 75th year had come up with an eco-friendly theme, reflective of the topical crisis of melting polar ice caps due to global warming. It sent out a message to the people to take care of our environment. Gaurango Kuila was the mind behind this magnificent idea. The unique idol of Durga rode on five lions inside the earth held protectively by a huge gold and bronze lotus. The lighting system was eye-popping and picture perfect! The protima was a simple ek chala styled traditionally dressed in white saree with red border.
Chaltabagan: Like every year, it managed to put up an exquisite view of both pandal and protima. The theme was beautiful and realistic with no significant message. It showed the beauty of nature and life. The pandal was a depiction of beautiful array of colours of sunset and sunrise in the midst of an ocean standing on the banks. Chaltabagan committee used solar generators, lead light and wind energy to generate electricity for the lighting system. And as always, Chaltabagan did exceptionally well with their lights once again. They had put up lights to look like rainfall! The idols were traditionally styled with a modernized touch.
Hatibagan Sarbojonin: This pandal came up with the theme of 'Lights' this year. The entrance of the pandal had 24 colourful dolls which welcomed all with joined hands in namastey. The four elements: fire, water, earth (greenery) and iron and steel were depicted in a coloured formation of man. The third stage had a mayajal with an aquarium with fish, grasshopper in a garden, spider web, a jungle with wild birds and a blue sky with flying birds. And last but not the least, the lights of outer space within which the idols were placed. Maa Durga held nine lighted diyas in her eight hands and in the remaining two she held the sun, the biggest source of light depicting the death of Mohishasur and the beginning of peace.
Bagbazar: This year their pandal depicted an Indonesian pagoda. At the entrance, a statue of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was placed in remembrance of him as a President of the Bagbazar pujo committee in the period 1938-39. This pandal was in its 94th year this year. The protima and the idols of Bagbazar were decked up magnificently in beautiful daaker saj, at its traditional best. The protima captivated everyone with its purity and magnificence.
kaushiki pal, XI, South Point High School
prithwish banerjee, IX, Lycee School
srijita dutta, X, Gokhale Memorial Girls' School,
avro basu, X, St. Augustine's Day School,
riya ghose, XI, St. Francis Xavier School