Durga Puja, a festival dating to the 1500s, has evolved over the years not only in places in Bengal like Kolkata but also in the Capital. But what remains unchanged is the fascination for people such as Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda and Jamini Roy, who are always popular themes at Puja venues in the city.
At East Delhi’s Mayur Vihar Kalibari, 28-year-old Snigdha Banerjee has been working for over a month along with 14 others of her locality to build a pandal inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s Taasher Desh. Banerjee, an animation and film design student at IIT Mumbai, wanted to bring the bard from Bengal alive on her home turf.
“Our generation doesn’t know much about Tagore beyond the national anthem and Geetanjali. What would be a better way to celebrate his 151st birth anniversary than giving pandal-hoppers a glimpse into his Taasher Desh,” Banerjee said.
The venue will also be decorated with paintings by the Nobel laureate along with lines from his works to be hung on multi-coloured Tibetan prayer flags.
At CR Park’s B-Block Puja ground, the organisers are celebrating Swami Vivekananda. The pandal will wear the look of Kanyakumari’s Vivekananda Rock, while the interiors will be that of Belur Math in Kolkata.
“It is a fusion of sorts on the auspicious occasion of Swamiji’s 150 birth anniversary. The interiors of the pandal will have his pictures and various words of wisdom. The famous speech by Vivekananda at the Art Institute of Chicago in September 1893 in the World’s Parliament of Religions, which brought Hinduism and India to the fore, will also be featured,” Amit Kumar Roy, general secretary of the Puja committee, said.
The organisers of Milani Samiti in Mayur Vihar are paying tribute to painter Jamini Roy on his 125th birth anniversary. Organisers say most parts of the pandal will be covered with pata chitra, an art that Roy championed. Even the Durga idol is on a giant earthen plate.
“Only two Puja committees are honouring Jamini Roy this year, the other one being in south Kolkata. A group of Delhi-based artists are working on our pandal for over 45 days,” one of the organisers, S. Goswami, said.