Kolkata turns into the City of Art during Durga Puja

Shobha Roy, Abhishek Law Kolkata | Updated on October 17, 2018 Published on October 15, 2018

Located in the posh South Kolkata locality of Bhowanipore, the Abasar Club has global warming as this year’s Durga Puja theme. The artist have used biodegradable materials like porcelain, terracotta and live plans to make the pandal.

Tridhara in South Kolkata used jute stalks to decorate the pandal and create the image of Durga with her family.   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Durga idol on Kashi Bose Lane.   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Millingtonia or Indian cork was once used for decoration during Durga Puja. The art was lost as cork was replaced by plastics. Ballygunge Culturalin South Kolkata revives the heritage. Indian cork is to decorate pandal as well as the deities.   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Mudali Club in South Kolkata promoted Dokra, an ancient metal casting technique invented by the Dokra Damar tribes in West Bengal and Odisha. The intricate designs based on non-ferrous metals made it an art form.   -  Debasish Bhaduri

During the British Raj, North Kolkata was a native colony, dotted with huge mansions. Ahiritola Sarbojonin recreated the old charm complete with rich intricate designs.   -  Debasish Bhaduri

Durga Puja is celebrated in a lot of cities, from Assam to Odisha; Bihar, Nepal to Bangladesh. But, what makes it unique in Kolkata is the emphasis on - ART.

Kolkata transforms into an art expo, representing wide range of cultures and traditions, during the nine-day period. Every facet of life becomes a part of the celebration.

The Bosepukur-Sitala Mandir pandal recreated the life and culture of Gonds, a forest tribe that once ruled large parts of Central India.

The salt lake pandal blended the cultures of India and China to create intricate dragon motifs, lanterns and a replica of Hulu, the Chinese bottle gourd. A set of artisans were sent to Yunnan to learn the culture and art of the province. Also, musicians came down to perform alongside Indian artists.

Liberal art

There is uniqueness in every theme and the artists are granted freedom. Kashi Bose Lane – a big North Kolkata draw, worked around the theme of verandah- an integral part of traditional buildings. Artist Sanatan Dinda saw the goddess as an icon of peace without weapons, thus making the Durga idol unique.

Santosh Mitra Square, another North Kolkata’s favorite spot, weaved its theme around Mahabharata. The pandal has a ‘Kapi Dhwaja’, Arjuna’s mythical chariot, made of 10 tonne of silver, worth over Rs 40 crore.

For some, reviving lost art forms of Bengal was a priority. The Babu Bagan Club in South Kolkata’s Dhakuria area took the terracotta route to make the pandal, in order showcase forgotten musical instruments.

Similarly, the Mudiali Club in South Kolkata has promoted Dokra, an ancient metal casting technique invented by the Dokra Damar tribes in West Bengal and Odisha.

On the other hand, the Ballygunge Cultural, used ‘ millingtonia’ or the Indian cork tree to decorate its pandal.

Climate change

There are themes that focus on serious issues like climate change or consumerism.

Abasar Club, in Bhowanipore, South Kolkata, has global warming theme. The artist used biodegradable materials like porcelain, terracotta and live plants to make the pandal.

Published on October 15, 2018
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