The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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pandal picks

ÜMukta Dal, Kalighat Road: It’s a “white” Durgotsav this year at the 54-year-old puja. Walk through a curtain of snowfall into a dimly-lit interior. Motifs on the pandal, shaped like a Buddhist monastery, draw from Hindu mythology

ÜBallygunge Durga Puja Committee, Maddox Square: Rajbari-style, pillar-based pandal, in its 67th year. Ekchala pratima, dressed in gold ornaments

ÜBediadanga Sarbojanin Durgotsav Samity, Picnic Garden: In its 54th year, the theme is Pather Panchali. Mud huts line Bibhutibhushan’s Nishchindipur with models of Apu, Durga and Pishima in various domestic situations. Cross a pond to enter the village. The famous train can be seen at one end of the field

ÜSunilnagar Sarbojanin, Picnic Garden: The puja is small and the road narrow, but inside is the world of Abol Tabol, created with seeds. From bird seed to Rajma pulses, every type of daal has been used to create characters and scenes from the Sukumar Ray classic.

ÜBallygunge Sarbojanin Durgotsav Samity, Deshapriya Park: The puja’s 65th year pandal is an old-style Nat Mandir. The fair is the main attraction, with food and fun rides. Giant wheels, Russian Roullette and even a Micky Mouse to keep the kids busy

ÜPicnic Park Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee, Picnic Garden: The theme is gram Bangla down the ages, with vignettes of rural life — hunting scenes, harvests, children playing in the fields— all with coloured chalk. Small chalk chandeliers light up the pandal

ÜBosepukur Parijat Club, Kasba: The theme is Parbat Bashini Parbati. The setting is the Himalayas, overlooking Mansarovar and a waterfall. The pratima is a creation in thermocol, layered with plaster of Paris, mud and paint, to give it a terracotta look. The climb to the deity at the peak is lined with panels on the Mahishasuramardini myth

ÜMudiali Club Durga Puja, Off SP Mukherjee Road: Buttons and glass bangles are what the puja, in its 68th year, is all about. Lining both sides of the approach are 180 peacocks on pedestals, with outspread tails

ÜEkdalia Evergreen Club, Ekdalia Road: In its diamond jubilee year, the club has gone all out. The lighting is based on commando training exercises, keeping in mind the recent events in the country. The pratima, by Sanatan Rudra Pal, will be dressed in zari and gold. The pandal is fashioned on temple architecture, with scenes from the Ramayana, created with foam, adorning the inside walls

ÜSinghi Park Sarbojanin Durga Puja, Dover Lane: The lighting on the 61st year recreates around 10 children’s parks in Calcutta, including Science City and Nicco Park, and extends all along Dover Lane. The interiors have been done up with around nine million shells, of different shapes and colours, brought from Chennai, recreating scenes from the Mahabharata. A 400-kg illuminated ‘soccer ball’ floats in the air, celebrating a World Cup hangover

ÜHindustan Park Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee, Hindustan Park: The theme, conceived by artist Gautam Basu, is communal harmony. The goddess on the 72nd year wears Muslim-style clothing and colours

ÜSamaj Sebi Sangha Sarbojanin Durga Puja Committee, Lake Road: Bishnupur architecture of burnt clay on the outside and Mahabharata murals on the inside walls is the special feature of the pandal, in the 57th year of this Puja

ÜBallygunge Cultural Association, Jatin Das Road: The look is that of an old Shiv Mandir, under a banyan tree, in keeping with the ambience of a bonedi bari puja, in the Association’s 52nd year. The asura has a horse’s head

ÜBehala Youngmen’s Association, Behala: Miniatures of the 52 pithasthans, along with an image of the traditional Mahishasuramardini, are the novelty of this 53-year-old puja

ÜBandhu Dal, Behala: Artist Suprotim Karmakar has used motifs from Satyajit Ray classics — Hirak Rajar Deshe, Pather Panchali, Goopi Gyne Bagha Byne, Sonar Kella and Debi — for this 49-year-old puja. A portion of the ground has been fenced to recreate the train sequence with Apu and Durga in Pather Panchali

Ü25 Palli Sarbojanin Durgotsav, Kidderpore: It’s Mesopotamia here, by Art College students. The dark blue idols, with Egyptian features, are set off by the terracotta-hued pandal. For special effects, statuettes dot the exterior of the pandal

ÜBarisha Shristi Club, Near Behala Chowrasta: Just in its fourth year, the puja promotes Indian folk art. Madhubani painting, or Godhna art, is the dominant style of the pandal and its images

ÜKabitirtho Sarodotsab, Kidderpore: In its golden jubilee year, the group has dedicated its puja in memory of three poets of Bengal — Michael Madhusudan Dutta, Hemchandra and Rangalal Bandopadhyay

ÜTrikon Park Sarbojanin Durgotsav, Santoshpur: Pata chitra, a dying craft of Bengal, is the motif of this 53-year-old puja

ÜBaishnabghata Jatra Shuru Sangha, Baishnabghata: The resplendent court in Satyajit Ray’s Hirak Rajar Deshe has been recreated here by a team of Art College students. Entrance is through a cave furrowed in the coal mine. Jantar mantar, Bagh Mama’s cage and clay models of Goopy and Bagha enhance the mood

ÜBabubagan Sarbojanin, Dhakuria: Santhal leader Titumeer’s bamboo fortress stands at an imposing 50-foot height. A bridge, which lets the visitors in over a surrounding moat, is pulled up and down by a chain pulley. On a balcony overlooking the main gate, a figure stands guard with a spear in hand. Giving the deity company is Bharat Mata

ÜSelimpur Palli Sarbojanin, Selimpur: The club’s 72nd year offering is a tribute to Bastar and Madhubani art of Bihar

ÜJodhpur Park Sarbojanin, Jodhpur Park: The Dilwara temple of Mount Abu has been recreated in the club’s golden jubilee year. The goddess is in the style of the presiding deity — Lord Mahavira. The temple is supported by 69 pillars, each with different designs.

ÜRajdanga Nabauday Sangha, Kasba: Biscuits of all shapes and sizes adorn the pandal and the idol while biscuit powder is the stuff the figures on the walls and the Devi’s weapons are made of. A huge lantern hangs from the ceiling, designed with biscuits. The 55-foot pandal, designed by local lad Kishor Das, has used 1,500 kg biscuits and 400 kg powder.

ÜRajdanga Tribarna Sangha, Kasba: Asit Haldar’s creation has taken more than a leaf out of nature — saal leaves for the saris and the eyes, paddy leaves for the golden skin tone, hogla and loofah for the lion’s skin, tea leaves for the head of the ox, hogla leaves for the ornaments… The pandal, in coconut leaves, is the legendary Chand Saudagar’s ship

ÜBosepukur Sitala Mandir, Kasba: Last year’s wonder in clay cups is pitching for an encore in sugarcane pulp. To offset the monotony of the uniform shade in the pulp pandal, the goddess comes clad in vibrant colours

ÜBosepukur Talbagan Sarbojanin, Kasba: Sitala Mandir’s neighbour comes into its own this time, with a record-breaking effort conceived by Pradip Dey. Around 60,000 Polydor, His Master’s Voice, Columbia, Odeon, Angel, Bharati products, in EP and LP format, find place on the motifs, the figurines by the entrance and every other detail of the decoration.

Ü95 Pally Durgotsab, Jodhpur Park: The road behind the Jodhpur market opens up to the Elephanta caves. The figures on the walls have been created from casts of plaster of Paris, while loofah has been soaked in the plaster mixture and pasted on the surface for the craggy effect. Durga too is a cave goddess, small in stature and matching the figures in tone and texture.

ÜBakulbagan Sarbojanin, Bhowanipore: The puja presents rural Bengal, conceived by artist Goutam Bose, Mrinal Sen’s art director. Fourteen huts line the journey to the mandap, in each of which stands a Durga in different media — pith to terracotta, dokra to jute, shells to kantha stich. In keeping with the 75th year celebrations, 7,500 lamps light up the walk

ÜBadamtala Ashar Sangha, Behind Rashbehari Gurdwara: Char Shiuli, a fishermen’s village, has been recreated. Huts and boats lie scattered. On top of a mountain is a temple in which Durga is being worshipped

ÜRay Street Sarbojanin, Bhowanipore: In the 59th edition, the organisers have replicated Writers’ Buildings with the pandal. The traditional idol, crafted by Mohan Banshi Rudra Pal, is stunning.

ÜMd. Ali Park, C. R. Avenue: Industrial recession is the theme in the 34th year. The pandal resembles Dilwara Temple. The idol is depicted as the sole saviour of the common man

ÜSimla Byayam Samiti, Vivekananda Road: No special theme for this 76-year-old puja, and tradition is the USP

ÜKashi Bose Lane, Off Bidhan Sarani: The theme revolves around agrarian economy in the state of Bengal and the overwhelming importance of paddy in our food basket. Conceived by artist Prakash Bera, the pandal is made of paddy saplings. The handiwork of over 20 farmers working day and night for the past two months

ÜBagbazar Sarbojanin, Bagbazar: Durga Puja of the 19th Century is what the organisers have decided to depict this year. The pandal resembles the Pagla Baba temple of Mathura. As always, there has been no deviation from tradition in the ekchala idol of this 84-year-old puja

ÜAhiritola Sarbojanin, B.K. Pal Avenue: The pandal is made of various parts of the coconut tree – from leaves to ropes. The interior is dotted with frames narrating the tero parbons of Bengal. The idol is ekchala, the mainstay of the 62-year-old puja

ÜNimtala Kathgola, Strand Road: Various components of wood – which brings livelihood to the people in the area -- are used to decorate the pandal and the idol in the 35th year of the puja

ÜKumartuli Park, Kumartuli: The setting of Rama’s Akal Bodhon has been recreated on the 10th year of the puja

ÜKumartuli Sarbojanin, Kumartuli: The pearl-eyed ekchala idol is the main attraction in this 70-year-old puja

ÜVivekananda Sporting, Vivekananda Road: The Jamini Roy-style ekchala idol is the main attraction in this 66-year-old puja

ÜHatibagan Sarbojanin, Hatibagan: Spirituality sets this 67-year-old puja apart. The six-ft-tall goddess is of slate. Mythology says the goddess was born under a Nisumbha tree and a similar 55-ft tree has been created, out of straw, plaster and artificial leaves, under which the idol stands

ÜSreebhumi Sporting Club, Sreebhumi: In its 30th year, the puja has recreated the Khajuraho temple in the pandal. Air-conditioned within

ÜLake Town Adhibasibrinda, Lake Town: In its 40th year, organisers have reproduced 25 different temple architectural forms from remote Bengal villages. Twenty-nine folk deities — like Tushu, Bhadu and Dakshin Roy — have been established and folk artistes from the districts will present songs of the soil

ÜTarun Sangha, Dum Dum Park: The organisers have adopted the theme of Buddhism and its power of patience and non-violence to make a “statement against terror” in their 17th edition. Buddhist sculptures from all over the world —Kandahar to Sanchi to the Bharu civilisation in Madhya Pradesh — have been recreated in coconut shell

ÜSantosh Mitra Square, Off APC Road: Stepping into its 67th year, this central Calcutta puja portrays the Eastern Railway bifurcation.

ÜLabony Estate, Salt Lake: Modelled after the 11th Century Brihadeswara temple in Tamil Nadu, the pandal with a sandstone look, represents Chola dynasty art and architecture. A bronze-finish Durga, with 18 arms

ÜBagmari, Maniktala: A dark pandal made wholly from strips of newsprint, coated with a maroon hue. The devi, rather than descending from heaven, is ascending amidst rakshasas and dark forces. Ma Durga, also made with paper, carries her children on her wings, as she slays a symbolic ashur.

ÜChaltabagan, Amherst Street-Vivekananda Road crossing: The Goddess’ 108 forms have been engraved on slate panels to line the interior of the pandal. The murti at the 60-year-old puja has a marble look

ÜTelengabagan, Ultadanga: Inspired by the Ujjaini temple and the temples of Orissa, the pandal, dubbed the Harisiddhu Mata Mandir, is covered with over a million rudraksha beads. The Devi’s jewellery and the mandap’s central chandelier are all rudraksha

ÜKarbagan, Ultadanga: The 55-year-old puja has chosen loofah as its medium. More than 40,000 loofahs have been used to line the exterior and interiors of the pandal. Two elephants guard the entrance

ÜYuba Brinda, Ultadanga: The ekchala protima is inspired by tribal dolls, while the cones and arcs that line the path to the main mandap are wrapped in foil, in keeping with the theme of ‘rupali roopkatha

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