Website for Durga pujas of the world
A website was launched at Sovabazar Rajbari on Wednesday that promises to bring together Durga pujas in the city and the districts, outside the state and even outside the country.
“DurgaFest.com will be a global digital aggregator of Durga puja. We are inviting all pujas to join us and archive their images year on year. So while it serves its immediate purpose by giving home-bound people amid the Covid pandemic a glimpse of this year’s Puja, it will also have a long-term use,” said Shreyasi Paul, a co-founder of the website.
The website has been divided into zones of the city, rest of Bengal, rest of India, abroad and aristocratic households. “We have already tied up with over 200 pujas. More are in the pipeline,” Paul said.
Work on the website started when Covid was just breaking out in India. “Since the World Health Organisation was forecasting a long haul before the virus would recede, we started planning ahead for Puja,” Paul said.
Minister Shashi Panja, the chief guest at the inauguration, said: “When they came up with the idea, I encouraged them thinking that this would be helpful not just for those in the city not venturing out this year but also those who are stuck away from Bengal. I have asked them to provide recordings of each important ritual as a highlight package on a daily basis so that people do not miss the festivity.”
“We have little idea or record of how Durga puja was 100 years ago. But such a website will leave a digital footprint of how Durga puja was celebrated, for instance, in the year of the pandemic. They are also accepting older pictures of the respective pujas to archive,” said Debashis Sen, the chairman-cum-managing director of the Housing & Infrastructure Development Corporation, which is supporting the initiative.
The DurgaFest.com team also plans to include an account from each organiser of how this year’s puja will be different from other years. Visitors can even rate the puja on the basis of the information and the visuals provided.
“This year, it will not be possible to allow visitors into the house. So we will encourage people to watch our puja on electronic and satellite media which will get restricted access,” said Debasish Krishna Deb, a member of the Sovabazar Rajbari, where the launch took place.
Nine special covers will be released on each day of Navratri, from October 17 to 25, by the department of posts, West Bengal circle, to commemorate nine manifestations of Durga.
The Forum for Durgostav, an umbrella organisation of over 300 Puja committees in Calcutta, will give Rs 4,000 each to 65 artisans in Kumartuli on Thursday to help them tide over the financial crisis resulting from lack of enough orders for idols.