Durga Puja festival is incomplete without theme-based pandals that are conceptualised and executed months in advance. It is a process that is both exhausting as well as rewarding.
In Kolkata, it is an exciting affair, wherein on one hand there are intimate pujas that are held inside a house with family members and some close friends in attendance, on the other, there are ‘sarbojanin‘ pujas that are open to the general public.
This year has been no different. While the pandemic scaled down the festivities in the last two years, Durga Puja in West Bengal — especially in the capital city of Kolkata — is back with mammoth pandals and colossal idols, each with a unique theme, display and special grandeur.
Indian Express photographers captured the essence of the festival through the many different pandals, for you to enjoy it virtually if you are living somewhere else. Take a look.
The Kabiraj Bagan Sarbojanin Puja committee in North Kolkata has recreated the replica of Nazrul Mancha, where singer KK performed his last gig earlier this year — in May — and succumbed to a heart attack.
The singer’s photographs have been displayed everywhere, along with a statue of him holding a mic and performing on a make-shift stage.
The Durga Puja pandal in Bidhan Sarani Atlas Club has a special theme this year, which will delight dog lovers. It is dedicated to pets. Besides the lion — that is the official mount of Goddess Durga — there are two adorable dog figures standing near the deity’s legs.
Also on display is a Mahishasura who is riding a bike to the party, and looking rather cross!
Check out the idol at the Nava Brindavan Zamindar house in North Kolkata, which is designed in an ‘ek-chala‘ frame with ‘daker saaj‘.
Here is another one: Goddess Durga idol — seen in an ek-chala frame — of Pathuriaghata’s 200-year-old zamindar ‘bari‘ (house), supported and carried via bamboo sticks.
Here is a photograph of the Durga Puja celebration of Pathuriaghata Ghosh Bari, which is also known as Khelat Ghosh Puja. Interestingly, luminaries like Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay have attended Durga Puja here, which is said to be some 165 years old.
This year, the Deshapriya Park Puja pandal in South Kolkata has been made to look like rajbari. Check out all the opulence.
Some days ago, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly was seen inaugurating a puja pandal in South Kolkata. Interestingly, a temporary structure of London’s famous Lord’s Pavilion has been set up adjacent to the pandal.