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Durga Puja 2022

Tibetan mantra for Telengabagan Durga Puja

From idol to pandal to music, this theme pujo has the perfect recipe to make it stand out in its 57th year

Jaismita Alexander | Published 20.09.22, 05:34 PM
Work in progress at the Telengabagan puja

Work in progress at the Telengabagan puja

Telengabagan Durgotsav Committee

The Telengabagan Durga Puja draws inspiration from the spirit of Buddhism this year. It has chosen Gorbogriher Itikotha (Tales of the sanctum sanctorum) as the theme in its 57th year. My Kolkata is the digital media partner for Telengabagan Durga Puja.

Artist Manas Roy is in charge of the pandal decorations and the idol has been sculpted by Pradip Rudra Pal.

Theme and decorations

The mandap at Telengabagan will be modelled after a Buddhist ritualistic offering, Torma. Goddess Durga will be seated in the dwelling place of the gods. Different kinds of Torma, an integral component of Buddhism, will adorn the pandal.

Torma is believed to be the dwelling place of God. “It is a cake made with barley and yak butter, which is used as offering in Tibetan rituals. Monks and any other worshipper can make Torma, the design for which is believed to have its origin in the body structure of Buddha or the mountains. Torma is covered with melted butter and has colourful floral designs,” said Amrit Shaw, the office secretary of the Telengabagan Durgotsav Committee. The designs on a Torma will be recreated with clay, thermocol and paper at Telengabagan.

“The colour and the size of Torma depends on the tantric rituals of Tibet, like white Torma (god of peace) and red Torma (god of war). Torma is also used as an offering to obstructing spirits. It is then called Gektor. Torma is not only an offering, but also a thought of the enlightened path of Buddhism. Making Torma has a spiritual aspect. Practising meditation with deity visualisation is considered a form of Torma offering. It is used as the throne of God,” Shaw said.


The idol at Telengabagan will be made of clay. “It will portray the intrinsic theme of the puja while maintaining the traditional look of Durga. She will appear in a shabeki Bangali sari but visitors will still find a subtle Tibetan influence. We did not want to digress from the actual look of Durga,” said artist Pradip Rudra Pal.

Background music

A blend of pahadi music and Durga shlokas composed by Sidhu of Cactus will welcome visitors to the pandal. It will be in sync with the pandal decorations to create the perfect Tibetan ambience. The illumination, too, will be in keeping with the theme.

Varied colours of Torma in the making to decorate the pandal

Varied colours of Torma in the making to decorate the pandal

Telengabagan Durgotsav Committee

Looking back

The Telengabagan puja was started in 1966 under the Ultadanga Durgotsav Sarbojanin Committee. In 1990, the committee was renamed Telengabagan Durgotsav Committee and theme pujos were introduced. The pandal that year was conceptualised as a Durga temple surrounded by water. The idol was sculpted by Mohanbashi Rudra Pal of Kumartuli.

“The trend of theme pujos was pioneered in north Kolkata by Telengabagan. The concept of a temple surrounded by water on all sides became an instant hit and people from all parts of the city and Bengal came to see it,” said the office secretary.

Then came the pandemic and, in 2020, the celebrations were minimalistic.  “People appreciated the fact that we did not make it a grand affair. Instead of spending money on celebrations that year, we distributed masks, sanitisers and other essential goods in our locality, winning hearts of many netizens,” said Shaw.

Last year, adhering to COVID guidelines, Telengabagan portrayed an environmentally and socially relevant topic on the availability of oxygen. “The pandemic had already taught us a lesson and made us realise how important oxygen is,” Shaw said.

Preparations this year

The organisers are looking forward to welcoming more visitors to the pandal this year. Work is on in full swing amid erratic weather conditions. Organisers are going to open the pandal to visitors on Tritiya, which falls on September 28.

“COVID still exists. The cases have gone down, but we will follow protocol and encourage visitors to do the same,” added Shaw.

How to reach Telengabagan

The easiest way to reach Telengabagan is via Ultadanga. The nearest Metro station, Shyambazar, is less than 2km away. If taking the local train, Bidhannagar Road and Kolkata stations are the closest. One can also take a bus to Ultadanga. Autos are also available from Sovabazar Sutanuti, Hatibagan, Shyambazar, Baguiati and Salt Lake to Ultadanga.

Last updated on 21.09.22, 12:31 PM

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