It is not only the theme of the pandals or the grandeur of the idols that attract devotees, but also innovative illumination, if one goes by the huge amount spent by puja committees on lighting in Bhubaneswar.
According to rough estimates each committee spends between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 5 lakh on illumination alone. With altogether 48 huge Pujas being organised in Bhubaneswar, the total figure hovers above `50 lakh during the four-day autumn festival.
With the sense of competition creeping in, the organisers are pulling all stops and spending a huge amount on innovative light work using LED lights.
Pandals belonging to Rasulgarh puja committee, Nayapalli puja committee and Old Station Bazaar puja committee have crossed the Rs 5 lakh figure this time with the kind of spectacular light work they have put up. In fact, almost all the pandals in the Capital City are famed for their impressive lighting.
A majority of these light designs here are the creations of a handful of artists from Chandernagore in West Bengal. Specialists at making theme-based light designs, these Chandernagore artists are in great demand here during the Durga Puja.
“Works on the light arcs started two months back and Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh has been spent on each of them,” said Rabindra Kumar Ray, the chief artisan who designed the lighting arrangements in Rasulgarh. He said the main design of the arc was done by seven artisans of Chandernagore.
“After the design is ready on the board, colourful LED bulbs are fitted onto it as per the layout,” he said, adding that an artist usually makes Rs 10,000 during the puja season. Ray and his team of seven artisans from Chandernagore have also created an Eiffel Tower and arcs representing themes from Ramayana at various pandals across Bhubaneswar.
The group has also been making electric gates for Sheikh Bazaar, Cuttack, since 1991. This has been our livelihood for the last 15 years,” said Pritam Chakraborty, an artist with the group.