Themes stretch from village to ghosts

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 8.11.13
Kadamtala Pancham Sangha did a typical Bengal village for its theme. There was paddy, a granary, a tol and mud houses where live models posed as villagers. The village scene was laid out with a teacher and students at the tol, a farmer thrashed paddy, a woodcutter collected wood, and such other vignettes. Members of the club themselves posed as models without blinking an eyelid for 15 to 20 minutes at a stretch. Visitors were allowed to enter the pandal in groups in each session after which the models were allowed a five-minute break.
The pandal at Bellilious Boys’ Sporting Club was colourful. For its 87th Kali puja the club had tridents, human heads and bells in its mandap. However, the biggest draw at this pandal was the ghost band on the makeshift stage. Live models, dressed as ghosts, danced to recorded music on stage while simulating with musical instruments as visitors watched on. While the ghosts looked suitably horrific, their antics on stage were quite entertaining. On another stage, characters from Chhota Bheem regaled children who came to the pandal.
Shibpur Bijayee Sangha’s Dasamahavidya puja completed 55 years. From Kali puja onwards, a form of Dasamahavidya is worshipped everyday at the temple. A huge annakoot utsav will be held on November 10 where members are expecting close to 7,000 visitors. Cooking starts from early in the morning and continues through the day. Visitors are treated to rice, sukto, muger dal, vegetables, chutney, payesh and rosogolla. After the 10-day puja, the women take part in sindoor khela. Cultural programmes are also held through the 10 days. This year, Debolina and Santanu of Zee Bangla Sa Re Ga Ma Pa fame will be performing at the club on the last day.
Kalataan’s Kali puja in Shibpur is close to 90 years. Although members do not remember the year when the puja exactly started, this is one of the oldest barowari Kali pujas of Shibpur. Three generations of the residents have been a part of this puja. What was earlier organised by the local men has now become the charge of the local women. “As people started getting busy with their daily lives, participation at the puja reduced significantly and many felt that it would have to be discontinued. For the last 10 years, the women of the area have taken full charge of the puja and organise everything, right from decorating the pandal to getting the idol and distributing bhog among devotees,” said Mallika Chatterjee, president of Kalataan.
Shibpur Youth Organisation’s 26th year Kali puja pandal was made with toys and other playthings. After wrapping the structure with colourful cloth, things like kite rollers, colourful ping pong balls and wooden dolls from Natungram in Burdwan were used to decorate the pandal.
Pictures by Gopal Senapati