Durga Puja in Kolkata is no longer a festival, rather has become a cultural event. People from all over the globe visit the city to witness the grand celebrations. And if things go right, it might also get the UNESCO World Heritage status next year. The cultural institutions in India are referred to and recommended by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, operating under the Union Ministry of Culture. This year, the Akademi has nominated Durga Puja in Kolkata for the status.
“Durga Puja is the best instance of the public performance of religion and art in the city. It witnesses a celebration of craftsmanship, cross-cultural transactions and cross-community revelry,” the official website of the Akademi states.
It then goes on to mention how the festival appeals universally and does not “temporally bound itself to the ritual occasion”. “Its dynamism lies in it being a constantly mutating event – in its fusion of tradition with changing tastes and popular cultures, and in the adaptation of the iconographies of Durga and the styles of her temporary abodes to cater to new regimes of art production,” the site states.
“Kolkata’s Durga Puja has developed a special artistic profile, which no other festival has with modern artists and designers coming together to produce a new urban art. This gives it a unique dimension,” Professor Tapati Guha Thakuta who led the five-member research team and prepared the nomination dossier for the Akademi, was quoted as saying, according to a report in The Hindustan Times.