With just mere days left, Kolkata has already turned into an art lover’s paradise with numerous marquees and installations cropping up across the city to celebrate the autumnal festival dedicated to the ten-armed goddess.
For people living in Kolkata, Durga Puja is not just a religious festival, but rather, is a social and cultural extravaganza that celebrates art, music and human bonds. Every year during the five days of the autumnal festivities, neighbourhoods get transformed into temporary installations enticing pandal hoppers with their murals, themes and artwork. A serious affair that sees a number of organisations offering rewards for the best of this and that (including likes of best idol, best theme, most environment friendly etc), come Durga Puja, Kolkata in its entirety becomes an art gallery showcasing the best in art that the city has to offer.
From a 50kg gold Durga, to the Balakot airstrikes, or issues of the LGBTQ community, here’s looking at 5 theme-based Durga Pujas that are a must-visit this year.
Young Boys Club Sarbojanin Durga Puja Committee on Balakot air strike: The Central Kolkata Durga Puja committee will be representing the Balakot air strikes. Sixty-five models of approaching IAF personnel along with fleeing and dead terrorists will be placed at the entrance of the pandal with a model of an IAF aircraft hovering over it. A life-size model of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman too will be placed at the marquee’s entrance.
Santosh Mitra Square installing 50kg gold Durga: The famed Santosh Mitra Square is hoping to enthrall visitors with a 13-feet tall idol, which will be made of 50 kg gold worth around a whopping Rs 20 crore. Several gold jewellers have come forward to make the gold available for making the idol. The contributors will get their gold back post immersion. The mandap will resemble the ISKCON temple of Mayapur.
Dum Dum Tarun Dal pays tribute to transgender: The artist for this year’s Dum Dum Tarun Dal will be paying tribute to transgender through his installation. Three transgender people helped him realise the installation, sharing their lifestyle with him to provide inspiration, and even lent their voice for the puja’s theme song.
Kailash Bose Street Puja Committee will be honouring Kolkata Police: The North Kolkata Puja located near Amherst Street is decorating their pandal on the various wings of the Kolkata Police. They will pay tribute to the Kolkata Police through digital projection and display of clay models on various squads including the Bomb Squad, River Traffic Police, Dog Squad, Cyber Crime Cell and Mounted Police wings of the force.
Kumartuli Park Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee: The theme for this year for the pandal is intergalactic connections and the mandap will be an elaborate space-themed installation. They are even creating a make-shift rocket launcher at the front of the pandal and the interior is essentially like a different planet.