Durga Puja: Themes rule Agartala, villages prefer basic

A Durga Puja Pandal in Tripura's capital city Agartala. Photo/Twitter

Theme-based marquees have dominated the community Durga Pujas of the Tripura capital while the rural areas of the state prefer the traditional ones.

The big-budget puja committees have themed their marquees on Uttarakhand's Badrinath Temple and Rajasthan's Seesh Mahal among others.

Organisers said the theme-based pujas act as crowd pullers as opposed to the traditional ones.

Netaji Play Forum, a big-budget puja committee in the town has spent over Rs 40 lakh to build the palace depicted in Bollywood film 'Padmaavat'.

"We based our marquee on the palace depicted in the blockbuster film 'Padmaavat' as we think it will act as a crowd puller. A lot of people have thronged our marquee in the first few days and we expect more people in the coming few days," secretary of Netaji Play Forum, Gautam Paul said.

The marquee is made of bamboo, polystyrene, wood and cardboards while the clay idol has been made by artisans from West Bengal's Nabadwip.

Another Durga Puja committee, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan, has spent Rs 35 lakh to build the replica of Sheesh Mahal in Jaipur.

"Many people had requested us to build our marquee themed on Sheesh Mahal as they could not visit Rajasthan but wanted to have a taste of the architecture in Agartala itself," president of the club, Shibu Saha, said.

Granite stones and glasses have been used to decorate the marquee.

Shiv Nagar Modern Club has built its marquee based on the Badrinath temple.

The marquee depicts the temple situated atop a snow-capped peak on the banks of a lake.

Dipak Saha, one of the puja organisers of the club, said, "We are always on the look for newer themes."

All the big-budget community pujas have hired artisans from West Bengal for making idol and lighting.

However, in the rural areas of the state, as in the outskirts of the town, traditional Durga Pujas have maintained their prominence.

One among them is a community Durga Puja organised only by women under the aegis of Amader Club at Bordwali area in the outskirts of the town.

"The organisers of the puja are only women. We collect donations and decorate the marquee simply. The idols wear a traditional look and are made by local artisans. People eat in a community kitchen during all the four days of the festivities," said Babli Dey, president of the puja committee.

A total of 2,459 Durga Pujas are being organised in the state this year, of which 869 are in the urban areas whereas the remaining are in the rural parts, an officer said.

Director General of Police, Akhil Kumar Shukla, said strict security arrangements are in place because of the puja.

A total of 9,250 personnel, including 5,150 from the Tripura State Rifles and 4,100 from the state police, have been deployed across the state to prevent untoward incidents during the festivities, he said.

Some 208 police assistance booths, 89 watchtowers and 119 CCTV cameras have been installed at the Durga Pujas in the state, the DGP said.

The BSF has been requested to seal the 856-km-long international border with Bangladesh during the festivities, he said, adding that over 1,000 police personnel have been kept on reserve.

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