Kolkata’s famed Durga Puja pandals which reflect new creative themes and masterful craftsmanship every year have for long been a unique annual feature exclusive to this city. However, over the recent years, the Pujas of Delhi have also been trying to adopt this concept, albeit at a smaller scale but with no less enthusiasm.
Chittaranjan Park, Delhi’s mini-Calcutta, has been at the forefront of building theme based pandals. Aided with sizeable budgets and large spaces for erecting imposing structures, Chittaranjan Park’s leading puja pandals such as B-Block, Mela Ground, Co-operative Durga Puja Samiti (K-Block) and Shiv Mandir draw the maximum crowds during the 5-day Puja celebrations.
Chittaranjan Park Durga Puja Committee (B-Block) this year is going for a Rajasthani fort and puppet theme. According to a report in the UK-based Mail Online, the puja pandal will replicate a Rajasthani fort and 150 Rajasthani puppets will be used to create an ethnic Rajasthani ambience. The idol of Goddess Durga will also be dressed in traditional Rajasthani attire.
One of the flagbearers of theme pandals in east Delhi is Milani Puja Samiti in Mayur Vihar. Creating theme pandals has been an annual practice at Milani for the last several years.
For instance, in 2011, the theme of the Milani Durga Puja pandal was the Ajanta Ellora Caves, and the pandal’s entrance and interiors were created as a replica of the ancient caves, complete with frescos on the “stone walls”.
The next year in 2012, Milani’s theme was the famous Madhubani style of painting, with the idol of the Mother Goddess as well as the altar and pandal interiors reflecting this famed style of painting.
Giving Milani a tough competition was its neighbor, Kalibari Samiti of Mayur Vihar, which had the theme of Tagore’s life with an elaborate exhibition of photographs, poetry, songs and art work of Tagore.
This year, the Antaranga Durga Puja, which is within walking distance of both Milani and Mayur Vihar Kali Bari is all set to unveil a theme pandal, commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Swami Vivekananda.
“The pandal will draw inspiration from the Vivekananda Rock Memorial Temple, Kanya Kumari,” Suhrid Mukhopadhyay, Vice President of the Antaranga Puja Committee told Learning And Creativity. “We will also have two elaborate collages depicting Swamiji’s travels as a wandering monk and the global repercussions of his historic Chicago address, as part of the interiors.”
The Antaranga Puja Committee, which is now in its 21st year, will also have the Durga idol made as a replica of the first idol that was worshipped way back in the year 1901 when Swamiji first celebrated Durga Puja in Belur Math.
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