Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Durga Pujo - I

This is insane. The whole city seems to have gone berserk.

Yesterday was Panchami, and Panchami is supposed to be the day when Durga Puja has hardly started. Many Puja pandels aren't even inaugurated by Panchami. So, I thought that if I went to see the Pandels in Kolkata late on the Panchami night, I would be able to avoid the crowds. By what I saw, however, it was evident that everyone else in Kolkata had the same idea. So when I reached Kasba Bosepukur at around 9:00 pm last night, there was a traffic jam that started two blocks before the Puja pandel.

Click to EnlargeEveryone in Kolkata seemed to be out at Bosepukur. On top of that there was a TV crew filming some roadside reality show there. The pandel itself was, er... a bit beyond my comprehension (like modern art). I didn't understand what they have intended to depict. I also didn't understand why people were religiously throwing coins into a decorative pool in the middle of the pandel. Anyway, after photographing the surprisingly small doll-like idol I proceeded on my way.

This year the artistic doll-like idols seem to be in fashion. Or it could be that I was out of Kolkata for so long that I did not know that these idols have been in fashion for some time. Salt Lake AD Block, where I stay, has one of them. It looks lovely though, as does their pandel. The idol at Jodhpur Park was also somewhere midway between traditional and artistic.

Speaking of Jodhpur Park, I reached there after 11:00 pm last night, and if anything, the crowd seemed to be several times the evening crowd at Bosepukur. There was already a queue for entering the tiny pandel (which is a lovely work of art) and some lights had broken due to crowd pressure. If this is the situation on Panchami around midnight I shudder to think what that place will look like on Saptami or Ashtami evening.

I didn't stay much longer after that. Walking was difficult due to the crowd, and buses were already very few, so I caught a cab and returned to Salt Lake around 12:30 am. Even the cab driver asked for extra money.

Today my sister is coming to Salt Lake and we plan to see a lot of pandels together. I have already seen a couple of them by myself and I really liked some ideas. For instance, the floating lights at AD block. I don't know whose idea it was, but that person should have been consulted by the FD Block Puja Committee before they attempted to make floating candles for their Hogwarts Castle. The much hyped Hogwarts Castle is also a magnificent pandel, but its beauty lies not in details but in the clever lighting that they have used. I'm sure during the day that pandel will look pretty ordinary apart from the fact that it is huge.

Tomorrow morning I'm leaving for Hooghly and I'll spend the rest of the Durga Puja there. I'll be back on Monday the 22nd with more details of Durga Puja of Kolkata and the suburbs. Till then take a look at the photos that I have already taken.


  1. hmmm...nice snaps yet again!!!!
    m celebrating my 1st pujo at bangalore... n it was good... much better than my expectations...with the traditional ceremonies and a huge bengali crowd... i never felt out-of-home!! :)

  2. Lovely snaps pujo celebrations needs a new blog..just got back to the city this look out for it in a couple of days..its perhaps the best pujo i have had in ages!

  3. Ooops...even the Pujos are feeling the heat of globalisation. I thought teeny weeny protimas were exclusively reserved for NRI pujo's, meant to reduce shipping and storage costs.
    And malls out here, usually have a wishing well which is basically a shallow decorative pool that stupid kids chuck their parents hard earned pennies into. Why we need a wishing well in a Pujo is beyond me?

  4. @aurindam: Good for you. I didn't like the Hyderabad pujo though.

    @monami: I'll be waiting for your write up.

    @anyesha: They make small idols and save the money to spend on the pandel and celebrity inaugurators. And I don't know why people felt it was a wishing well in that pandel.