It is that time of the year when streets in Kolkata will be decked up in colourful lights, roads will wear a new look; the city will turn into a museum of art, with several wonderful creations on display, for four days. People, dressed in their best of attires will be hopping across the city from North to South, Salt Lake to Behala, just to soak themselves in the festive spirit.
So, if you have still not decided where to start and which are the pandals to watch out for, Team M3.tv has prepared a list of 10 Puja pandals that cannot be missed!
Where: Kumartuli Park Sarbojonin Durgotsav
How to get there: Near the crossing of Arabinda Sarani and Rabindra Sarani; nearest Metro - Sovabazar
Attraction: The theme this year is Dwadash Jyotirlinga or the twelve Jyotirlingas, which are 12 holy sites of worship of the god, Shiva. The pandal consists of a maha jyotirlinga, and six smaller ones on each site. The specialty of the idol of Durga is that she would have 1000 hands. It is mentioned in Sri Sri Chandi Path that the goddess originally had 1000 hands.
Where: Hatibagan Nabin Pally
How to get there: Near the crossing of Arabinda Sarani and Bidhan Sarani; nearest metro – Sovabazar, (then take Arabinda Sarani), or Shyambazar, (then take Bidhan Sarani)
Attraction: Hatibagan Nabin Pally has a unique theme this year, in the sense that it is going to present a slice of Pakistan. Their theme is the truck art of Pakistan. Truck art, a popular genre of art in regions across Pakistan, is used to deck up trucks and other moving vehicles in a competitive display of ownership and status. It is known for the bright and ostentatious colours splashed across the bodies of vehicles. The same type of art would be on display at the pandal. Three truck artists from Pakistan, in fact, came and did up the pandal beautifully.
Where: Bidhannagar BH Society
How to get there: Near tank number 7, BH Park, Salt Lake
Attraction: Their theme is the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. Called ‘Aranyak’, the theme would tell the story of Bon Bibi, the goddess of forests, who is widely worshipped in the Sundarbans. Hence, the Durga idol would look like the goddess of the forest, complete with the surroundings of a forest temple and trees behind the pandal. According to the story, it was Bon Bibi who was instrumental in bringing communal harmony to Sundarbans and restoring the ecological balance there.
Where: Shibmandir Sarbojonin Durgotsav
How to get there: Lake Temple Road, near Mudiali bus stop; nearest Metro Station – Kalighat
Attraction: Shibmandir has gone for the theme of ‘Shaktir Kunjo’. The sun and mother earth are the integral parts of the theme. Both are life-giving, one providing the energy and the other, the suitable atmosphere for life to flourish. To go with the theme of energy, the puja committee is installing a solar panel at the pandal which would provide 1 kilowatt of energy to the pandal. Goddess Durga would be seen as Mother Nature, welcoming the power of the sun god. Interestingly, the artists are using foam pipes used in air-conditioning machines to decorate the pandal.
Where: Bhowanipore 75 Pally
How to get there: Bhowanipore
Attraction: ‘Mayer aanchal’ is the theme, signifying the security and protection that a mother provides. Organisers have used 250 kg of thread to create a 5-km long sari in a riot of colours with a long aanchal. The driving force behind this year’s theme is a humanitarian cause. In much the same way that Durga rid the world of evil by destroying Mahisasura, 75 Pally hopes to bring down social barriers by bringing everyone within mayer aanchal.
Where: Naktala Udayan Sangha
How to get there: Naktala, on NSC Bose Road; nearest Metro Station – Masterda Surya Sen and Gitanjali
Attraction: The highlight of Udayan Sangha is be the 9-tonne idol of Durga carved out of a single piece of yellow sandstone. A 14,500 kg chunk of sandstone was imported from Rajasthan for the purpose. Artist Bhabatosh Sutar created the statue. The theme is aptly named ‘Pathore Pran’ or, life in stone. The theme music for the Puja has been created by Ustad Rashid Khan and the theme song has been sung by Surojit.
Where: 41 Pally, Haridevpur
How to get there: At Haridevpur; nearest Metro Station – Tollygunge
Attraction: The Puja is celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema. Statues of the doyens of Indian cinema would be on display. Relief work in plaster and cement will portray scenes from some of the best-known moments of Indian films.
Where: Tridhara Sammilani
How to get there: On Manoharpukur Road, accessible from Rashbehari Avenue, near Priya Cinema
Attraction: Tridhara Sammilani is all set to explore a very basic emotion of life this year. Everyone endures some kind of suffering like loneliness, frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. The pandal decor, ambience and almost everything here would be about making people happy. The pandal will bear the look of a decorated and ornamented elephant with a carriage (howdah) on its top. This carriage will be equally decorated with stones and ornaments and it will have Goddess Durga sitting on it with young Ganesha on her lap.
Where: Badamtala Ashar Sangha
How to get there: Near Rashbehari crossing; nearest Metro Station – Kalighat
Attraction: This year Badamtala has the theme ‘Badamtala Swapno Dekhabe’. The theme is a dream world, and 3D installations would play actions taking place in a surrealistic world. People would be walking in a dream world, as a senior official of the club said. Being a dream world, the pandal would be ful of abstract elements. Subtle colours, soothing ambience and soft music would enthrall the visitors.
Where: Suruchi Sangha
How to get there: Located in New Alipore near Durgapur Bridge
Attraction: This is the 60th year of this popular Puja. The theme is West Bengal and its culture. Bengal has been created on a small scale. Leather artwork of Santiniketan, jute crafts, terracotta, murals, kantha, madur, Bankura horse, staues of elephants of North Bengal and Royal Bengal tiger, thatched roofs at the entrance – a bit of everything Bengal is famous for has been recreated at this pandal.
Miles to go before I sleep…
Of course, Puja in Kolkata is much bigger and diverse than just ten pandals. There is a lot more to see and enjoy. For a comprehensive list of the pandals in the city, and a guide map, check this image:
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