Bengali’s Best Staycation, Durga Puja || The Groundwork ||

Introducing Pandals, the temporary bamboo structures shaped with clothes to house the idols. These are themed with the dominant trends among the youngsters (I am expecting to see a Captain Marvel as Durga and Thanos as Mahisasur this Puja), or a known travel destination, so as to attract the viewers. The pandal construction starts a month prior to the D-Days. You would find the pandal workers securing the bamboos in position, connecting them together in the mid-air. Not only does the renowned one forms up, the lesser known ones starts assembling too. Every nooks of the locales buzz with the tireless fabrication. Come Mahalaya, the commencement of the Devi-Paksha, and the last- minute touches to everything begins.

Besides the gorgeous outer theme, the inside (shola) motifs and art-work, on the side walls as well as the ceiling is worth every penny. The chandeliers on the domed ceiling surrounded with artworks is no less than the original temple architecture of renowned destinations. One would be awe-struck at the marvel of the craftsmanship, at the finesse of the ace architecture standing there. Although fleeting and transitory, it is indeed the outcome of just a month long period. All this groundwork is a joint endeavor of all artisans- be it the pandal makers or the decorators or the lightning artists lighting up the interiors and the exteriors. Besides the shola motifs, the daaker saaj is another exemplification of the Shola-pith decoration that involves immense expertise of the artists.

Daaker Saaj
The Jute works in the ceiling

The clay works on the side walls of a Pandal

The inside artforms

The lighting on the other hand is a yearlong ex-situ preparation and is one of the various magnets of the Puja. How delicately the tiny light bulbs are mounted into frames resulting into montage of various real-life images. At some places there is a street long display of the light images, even there are moving displays showcasing various subjects. Be sure not be bored even in the crowded queues owing to these lightshows. 

Lightning at Ekdalia (last year)

The lighting sheds over the streets

Another example of lighting

Last year Durga Puja witnessed the longest alpona/rangoli on the streets of South Kolkata, another art to be greatly appreciated. A night-long effort by the students of the art college resulted into a vivid collage of colourful designs and the most anticipated must-visit of last year. 

The longest alpona

More of the longest alpona

The Dhaakis dancing with the rhythmic and unique sound of the Dhaak, will fill one from within, indeed the Puja fever serves it all.  

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