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Home » My Kolkata » News » Three-day pre-event to showcase Durga Puja artistry, minus crowd for tourists

Durga Puja 2022

Three-day pre-event to showcase Durga Puja artistry, minus crowd for tourists

Ambassadors of nine countries, including the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany, have confirmed participation

Sudeshna Banerjee | Published 03.09.22, 07:19 AM
Last year’s Durga idol at the Kashi Bose Lane Puja

Last year’s Durga idol at the Kashi Bose Lane Puja

Telegraph picture

In a bid to create a space for tourists where they can appreciate Durga Puja artistry without having to jostle with the crowd, a pre-event show is being organised from September 22.

This is what Eric Falt, the Unesco cluster director and representative, announced he would be coming back to Kolkata for in his address at the felicitation on Thursday.

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The ambassadors of nine countries, including the UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany, have been invited.

Titled Durga Puja Art, the preview show, in partnership with Unesco and the British Council, will be held over three days with 22 community pujas, known for excellence in contemporary art, two traditional community pujas and two household pujas in participation.

There will be no rituals as the event happens before Mahalaya.

“We want to highlight the transformation of the city’s public spaces into the world’s biggest art gallery,” said Dhrubojyoti Bose Suvo, secretary of the NGO massArt, which is organising the event.

The community pujas will complete their pandals in time for the guests to get a feel of the finesse and innovation that Kolkata pujas are known for.

The event is meant exclusively for tourists who will be required to pre-register free of cost on a website, massart.in, which will generate a QR code for them to scan at the entry of each puja to gain access.

Despite Durga Puja of Kolkata being inscribed on the Unesco’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, Falt had expressed reservations about it drawing tourists because of the crowd.

“For international visitors, sometimes there’s a reluctance to go to mass events. They feel a bit uneasy, especially in Covid times,” he had said. 

But the plan to restrict footfall has clearly struck a chord with him.

The participants include big-ticket pujas like Tridhara, Chetla Agrani and Barisha Club, and are spread across the city, from Ballygunge Cultural Association in the south to Kashi Bose Lane in the north and Dum Dum Park Tarun Dal in the east.

“Tourists will visit these pujas between 6pm and 5am to experience the illuminated ambience,” Suvo said.

Hop-on, hop-off buses will do the rounds of the sites all night. Tourists will be provided with Google Map locations of each site and helplines in case they want to book private vehicles or accommodation. A “making of Durga puja” exhibition will be held at Town Hall.

“Visitors can see some idols getting crafted from scratch, which will be donated to small-budget pujas. Traditional art like dokra, patachitra and sitalpati will be showcased,” he said.

“We want to reach out to the global audience. Of course, my theme-maker is pressing for more manpower and faster delivery of materials to finish so much before Mahalaya. But this is a small price to pay for the exposure,” said Sudip Polley, president, Barisha Club. 

Last updated on 04.09.22, 01:43 AM
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