They toil for months in cramped, dimly lit workshops to create the most beautiful idols and yet remain far away from the festive glitz. Kumartuli Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee will pay tribute to the idol-makers this Puja. The names of hundreds of such artisans from Kumartuli will be highlighted in the pandal. My Kolkata is the digital media partner for the Kumartuli Sarbojanin Durgotsav puja.
Theme and presentation
“Durga Puja would be incomplete without idol-makers and this year we have decided to salute these unsung heroes,” said Debashish Bhattacharya, executive committee member, Kumartuli Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee.
The pandal will have a collage of names of artisans written in Bengali on its walls. Various font styles are being used to attract attention and cut-outs of the letters of the alphabet will be used as props.
Artist Biswanath De is the mastermind behind the pandal decoration while Nabakumar Pal has sculpted the idol.
“Names of popular artists of the present day and the past will all find mention. We are going to experiment with colours, fonts and styles all over the pandal,” said Bhattacharya.
The Durga idol will also be in keeping with the theme, with names of artisans written over it.
“We have always experimented with our idols. This year, it will have the names of artisans mentioned on it like our pandal walls. This is being done very aesthetically,” Bhattacharya said.
The Kumartuli Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee was first held in 1931 but the puja got its first creative idol in 1938. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was the president of the puja committee that year.
The pandal had caught fire and everything was reduced to ashes on Panchami. A new idol was made by Gopeswar Pal. “He was a pioneer in creating something new. He was among the ones who moved away from the traditional ekchala format,” Bhattacharya said.
In 2020, the committee organised a simple puja and spent most of the money in helping villages in the Sunderbans that had been destroyed by Amphan. While visiting Dakshin Durgapur village in Kultali, the organisers came to know that the village had never celebrated Durga Puja.
“They didn’t even know how Durga Puja is celebrated. That year, we decided to make a pandal there and celebrate Puja with them. Our theme for 2020 evolved around these people. We had clicked their smiling faces and displayed them in our pandal,” Bhattacharya said.
In 2021, the theme was based on the lockdown. The pandal decoration portrayed various aspects of being locked up at home.
Cultural programmes and events
Kumartuli Sarbojanin Durgotsav Committee will be open to visitors from Tritiya, which falls on September 28. On that day, the female members of the committee will organise cultural events.
A cornea donation camp will also be held, where people can pledge to donate their cornea after death. This will coincide with the Devi’s chokkhu daan porbo.
How to reach
Kumartuli is a 10-minute walk from Shyambazar or Sovabazar. The nearest Metro stations are Sovabazar-Sutanuti and Shyambazar Metro.
One can reach Kumartuli by bus and get down at Lal Mandir or Rajballavpur bus stops. It’s a five-minute walk from there.
Another option is to take the Circular Railway, get down at Sovabazar-Sutanuti station and walk for five minutes.
Those coming from Howrah station, can take a ferry ride across the Hooghly and arrive either at Bagbazar ferry ghat or Sovabazar-Ahiritola ferry ghat and walk for five minutes.