Pandals opt for a green makeover

Durga puja

Innovation is the big mantra for Durga Puja and puja pandals this year as organisers look to reinvent the celebration of a festival steeped in tradition and age-old lore with everything contemporary, ranging from eco-friendly pavilions to free wi-fi at the venues.

The festivities began on Tuesday with sasthi, as per the Hindu calender, and with increased security in the pandal areas across the city. Temporary barricades have also been put up to manage long queues of devotees, and all efforts are in place to ensure things remain orderly.

But these are mild hiccups for the devotees and revellers who come from all parts of the city to pay obeisance and see the idol of Durga and her four children – Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh, Kartikeya and the demon Mahisasura. And puja organisers have ensured that the people visiting the pandals do not return disappointed.

One of the popular pujas in the city is the Arambagh Puja, best known for its uniqueness in celebration and creating the perfect environment. The Arambagh Puja, which celebrated its silver jubilee last year is also following the guidelines by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and has gone green this year. 

Abhijit Bose, executive chairman of Arambagh Puja Samiti, proudly claimed to Metrolife, “Our pandal is totally eco-friendly. From the goddess’ idol to the murals and illustrations on the walls, everything has been made with organic materials. We have used bamboo and waste paper to decorate the pandal and our Durga idol is made up of only mud and straw. We have also used herbal colours to paint the idol. And our theme is based on ‘Defeat of Evil Powers’.” In a major attraction this year, devotees will witness a big head of a buffalo, measuring 50 feet in height and 30 feet in width, which will serve as the facade of the pandal. The severed head of the buffalo signifies demon Mahishasura and represents “the eradication of demonic and evil powers from each segment of the society.”
 Ashok Ghosh, president of Indraprastha Matri Mandir Nirman Society, Patparganj, seconds Bose, “We have used only jute to make the pandal. Even the wall hangings and other decorative items are made from jute. The idol is made only from mud and painted with herbal colours. This year we are celebrating our 25th anniversary and so have ‘Rural Bengal’ as our theme. Through this we have tried to showcase true Bengal.”

The B-Block Puja Samiti, the popular hub of Bengali community at Chittranjan Park has also come out with something unique this year. 

“As per the guidelines we are not using any plastic or other hazardous products. And this year the puja bedi is made in the shape of a mangal kalash. Durga Maa is made sitting on an earthen lamp and the entrance has been designed in the shape of a banana leaf. Basically we have incorporated all those items which are essencially used during the puja,” said Sayan Acharya, coordinator of the organising committee.

If on one hand people are focussing on the eco-friendly aspect, the Mela Ground Durga Puja Samiti in Chittaranjan Park, celebrating its 39th year, is going high-tech this year. “We have a Facebook page where we are giving all the information about the puja. And on Navami, the evening aarti will be telecast live on Facebook,” informed Jaideb Chakrabortry, Bedi secretary.

The D-Block Puja at Chittaranjan Park is providing free wi-fi at their pandal. So, now visitors can click photos and instantly post them online using the free wi-fi facility. They too have a Facebook page to showcase their puja on e-space.  

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