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Lanka seashells for Kali abode

Siliguri, Oct. 25: Seventy quintals of seashells from Puri, Digha and as far as Sri Lanka have been used to decorate a pandal that will be the abode of Goddess Kali for the next two days.

According to the organisers, the 60-foot high pandal on George Mahbert Road has been built on the lines of a Rajasthani haveli or palace and the seashells have been used to make the designs on the walls and the ceiling.

“This is our 39th year. The previous years we have tried to give shape to innovative themes like the Darjeeling’s ropeway, pyramids of Egypt and Dakshineshwar temple. This year we have erected a pandal based on the havelis of the royal families in Rajasthan. We have used jhinuks and shankhas for the designs. Since a lot of detailing is required, we gave the assignment to a Jalpaiguri-based decorator in August,” Vinay Gulati, the secretary of Siliguri Cultural Organisation, said.

He added that the pandal is expected to attract a lot of visitors because of the design and creativity.

Tarun Datta of Jayanti Electrical and Decorators that had taken up the project said: “We have done small assignments using seashells before but this is a large-scale project. Around 25 artisans from Nandigram and Kanthi were hired and they worked for 15 hours every day. To give shape to designs using seashells is cumbersome and it requires great detailing. When the deadline neared, the artisans worked from 6 in the morning till past midnight to complete the work. Seventy quintals of seashells of 17 different varieties from Digha, Puri and Sri Lanka have been used.”

He added that the walls of the pandal have designs of princes riding elephants, peacocks, flowers and several divine images and a chandelier in the ceiling will add to the “royal feel”.

“The designs were prepared at a workshop in Jalpaiguri and they were assembled here in Siliguri. The work on the roof is elaborate especially the chandelier which gives a royal feel to the pandal,” Datta said.

According to Gulati, placards with slogans like “keep Siliguri clean”, “save water” and “save electricity” will be put up around the pandal to spread awareness.

“An overall cost of Rs 3.25 lakh was incurred in putting up the pandal. Every year we donate a part of the puja funds for charitable causes. This time the money will go to CM’s relief fund for the earthquake victims,” Swapan Ghosh, the vice-president of the association, said.

The organisers are hopeful that the pandal that had bagged an award in 2007 will win an award this year also.

“In 2007, we had designed a zamindar bari in a dilapidated state and we had bagged a special prize for it. We are hopeful that we will get an award this time too. The pandal will be inaugurated tomorrow evening and we are certain that the visitors will appreciate it,” said Manas Roy, the association’s treasurer.

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