This year Durga Ma is going colourless to save another goddess — Yamuna. In a bid to go eco-friendly, several pandals in the city have used the less vibrant but nature-friendly colours such as haldi and mud ochre to paint idols and paper or clay jewellery to decorate them.
Every year, hundreds of Durga idols are submerged into the Yamuna after the puja festivals are over. The chemical paints, synthetic clothes and artificial jewellery used on the idols becomes an environmental hazard as it does not dissolve in the river water.
Since natural colours are biodegradable, pandals at Minto Road, CR Park and even at Faridabad have kept it simple this year and gone ahead with a less vibrant theme, which is in stark contrast to earlier years.
Apart from painting a Durga idol out of mud ochre — a type of mud that dissolves in water — the Cooperative Ground Durga Puja Samiti at CR Park has an entirely “natural” theme this year with a cave and waterfall housing the puja idols.
The group is promoting a movement called “Save Yamuna from Chemicals” and has not used any chemicals or plastic in making the idols.
“We wanted to make the pandal as close to nature as possible and have even taken care to use biodegradable products such as plates made of tree bark,” said Sudip Dutta, general secretary, samiti.
The Dakshin Palli Durga Pujo Samity, pocket 52, CR Park has been going colourless for the last five years. Their pandal is made entirely of cloth while the jewellery on the idols is made of clay. “Everything here is degradable. We cannot clean the Yamuna, but we can avoid being the ones polluting it,” said Ashok Bose, president of the Samity.
Dipak Mukhopadhyay, president of a Minto Road puja samiti, said that they have also used paper to decorate the pandal and idols.
While the idols may lack their usual luster, the enthusiasm has anything but dimmed. A day before Saptami, which marks the beginning of the celebrations, there were dizzying crowds outside pandals at CR Park.