The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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The odd and the offbeat


Naskarpara Pally Unnayan Samiti: It’s all in the stars at this Haridevpur puja address. Rashi Chakra is the theme, revolving around the rashis, zodiac signs and grohos. The 20-ft-high pandal has been decorated with local hog plums (amra). Around 3.5 lakh hog plums have been used in the pandal after being chemically treated. The bark of the date palm tree resembles the web-like look of our palm.


Haridevpur Adarsha Samiti: What does it take to make a 32-ft-high and 35-ft-wide pandal in south Calcutta' Around 80 lakh nails! And if that is not enough, the theme of sarbadharma (religious harmony) has been etched out with the iron dust residue from the nails by creating 3-D figures on the pandal walls depicting six different religions.


Dharamtala Sporting Club: What does it take to transport a maize field from Punjab to Kasba' Some 15,000 bhuttas (maize). The idols, the ornaments, the decorations and even the chandelier are made from some part of the bhutta. The seeds have been roasted and ground for colour, maize models depict various scenes of rustic life. The idols are set against clay maize plants, coloured green.


Sadhana Sangha: What does it take to recreate Tarashankar Bandopadhyay’s Daak Harkara' More than 200,000 used and discarded stamps from all over the world. Yes, that’s what decorates the arched entrance gateway, the mandap and the idol at this Hazra Road club in its diamond jubilee year. The backdrop is a giant stamp from Nepal.


Netaji Sangha: Football fever is the name of the game at this Palta puja. The Devi resembles Mother India, handing over the World Cup to winning Italian captain Cannavaro, while French captain Zidane and German striker Klose look on. The pandal resembles the Munich stadium and the insides, the Berlin stadium.


41 Pally: Combing in search of themes, this puja has hit upon — what else' — combs. The tool that tribals, from Orissa to Arunachal Pradesh, use to keep their tresses in order adorn the panels as well as the Devi’s neck (as ornaments) in this Bivas Mukherjee creation being worshipped at Haridevpur.

(Pictures by Pabitra Das and Amit Datta)

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