When a City turns into a Grand Art Gallery: Kolkata Puja Pandals

From Calcutta to Kolkata the city has emerged and evolved over 300 years. This city of promise and power may have lost the battle for economic, technology, or political supremacy to Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi but for anyone who has spent some part of their growing up years in Kolkata it remains a City of Joy forever. During the 5 days of Autumn when the city gears up for the annual festival of Durga Puja, every nook and corner is scrubbed and wrapped in artistic and aesthetic display of themes using props drawing from traditional and modern art forms from the state and world over converting it into one huge grand art gallery that you can never have enough of !!

Year on year, I stand spell bound while walking through alleys, streets and main roads, capturing the images in my camera and wondering about the artistic talent who work tirelessly behind the scenes to present this spectacle. Durga Puja is the celebration of good over evil heralding the home coming of the mother goddess from her abode in the mythical hills to wipe out misery and fear and shower her worshipers with unconditional abundance.

The life like idols of the Goddess are housed in make shift structures better known as pandals made of bamboo, tarpaulin, plaster of paris, threads, metal, thermocol and other innovative indigenous material. In the last two decades the garish displays have given way to subtle, arty displays often portraying contemporary issues and themes or simply celebrating the art and culture of a region in India. You have to be there to experience the grandeur, the ambience, the festive spirit and the camaraderie as thousands walk down the streets visiting each pandal and with a visible awe and admiration in their eyes !!

Visit Kolkata between 28th September and 4th October 2014 to be a part of this wonderful event.

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