In less than a fortnight, the Ranchi Railway Station Durga Puja Committee pandal — partly finished on Monday — will boast superwoman Durga. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Weapons flashing, the fiery Durga defies gravity in the sky. But she’s equally at home underwater. And the 10-armed goddess can also make a pretty — if politically loaded — picture by smiling demurely at the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya.
The goddess is not called superwoman for nothing. And her devotees in Ranchi are taking divine flights of fancy to prove this point with barely 12 days left for Durga Puja.
Talked-about pandals of the city are decking up to get talked about and attract footfall in lakhs during the five festive days.
The frontrunners this year seem to be pandals by Ranchi Railway Station Durga Puja Committee for Rs 8 lakh, Satya Amarlok on Harmu Road for Rs 11 lakh and Bhartiya Yuvak Sangh on Bakri Bazar for a whopping Rs 20 lakh.
“Our pandal will show heaven, earth and hell, complete with its burning fires. Goddess Durga will fly in the sky that signifies heaven with her weapon. The corpse of Mahisasura will lie on a mountain in hell,” said Munchun Rai, Ranchi Railway Station Durga Puja Committee president.
The puja committee is setting up its pandal right in front of Ranchi station. The goddess, made of thermocol, suitably decked up and painted, will hang from above the pandal in a way that visitors feel she is flying.
The dramatic fires of hell are pieces of sparkling plastic that will shine as special lights fall on them. An elevated structure has been created in the pandal with ply. The fires of hell will be at a level below, while the goddess will fly overhead to give the perspective of triolok (three worlds of hell, earth and heaven).
Satya Amarlok puja pandal on Harmu Road, however, is concentrating only on one world — water world.
The goddess here will be found deep inside the ocean flanked by big thermocol hills. “We are using appropriate colours and props, including waves, small boats and even fish and birds to give the feel of the sea,” said Amit Giri, an artisan setting up the pandal.
“The devotees will feel they have entered the sea to meet and worship goddess Durga. But ours is just artistic imagination. It is not a statement on this year’s rain in the state or anything contemporary or newsy,” said Hemendra Singh, president of Satya Amarlok Durga Puja Committee.
The theme of the pandal planned by Bhartiya Yuvak Sangh at Bakri Bazar, however, says it is influenced by recent events.
The Ayodhya land is sub judice. But the pandal organisers have gone into the future and modelled their pandal on the proposed Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.
“The blueprint of our pandal was drawn up by our artisans who personally visited Ayodhya to take a look of what people had planned there for the Ram Mandir. Devotees can feel they are walking into the Ram Mandir to worship the goddess Durga,” said Sanjay Choudhary, treasurer of Bhartiya Yuvak Sangh. “We will also mount pictures of important events of the Ramayana at our pandal.”
Mahisasura mythology apart, there is another legend that says Ram offered goddess Durga his eye when a blue lotus for her worship had fallen short.