KOLKATA: This year's Durga Puja pandals are stressing on themes that explore subjects ranging from India's rich heritage to more contemporary women's empowerment, aided by digital 3D mapping technology.
At Bosepukur-Talbagan Sarbojonin in south Kolkata the achievement of women like long-distance swimmer Arati Saha are being projected.
"We will be making 3D projection about the exploits of women achievers like swimmer Arati Saha on the white screen of a pandal decked up with terracota work," Subhendu Ghosh, the spokesman for Bosepukur Talbagan, told PTI.
Ghosh said that the idol was made like 'ekchala' Durga, in which Durga and her four children are mounted on a single frame, but the base looked like a kantha stitch textured saree with hands of women engraved on the wall surrounding the sculpture signifying 'stree-shakti;.
The theme of women's empowerment was implemented with 12 types of terracota work and intricate handicraft by women SHGs from interior districts, he said.
A little distance away at Singhi Park a grand temple has come up belonging to the Shakti cult where Ma Durga is worshipped in her Kali avatar.
"We have sought to give a new twist to Stree Shakti by transplanting the Shila Devi’s temple from Rajasthan with the 'Shila' kept in the main pandal along with the conventional
Durga idol," Bhaskar Nandi, Joint Secretary of Singhi Park Durga Puja Committee," said.
Nandi said that the temple's exteriors had been imaginatively recaptured. "We have recreated the 16th century edifice built by Maharaja Man Singh of Amber Fort."
In nearby Suhrid Sangha, the desert pyramid and the Sphinx have come up amidst houses on the congested Basanta Roy Road.
"We have sought to give a message on women's empowerment by making our "parar meye" Rituparna Sengupta as the brand ambassador as women truely embody the spirit of Durgashakti," cultural secretary of Suhrid Sangha Sushanto Biswas said.
The idol has a mix of Egyptian and Bengali touch.
In another award-winning puja nearby, Bhowanipur 75 Palli, the organisers have settled for the theme "Juta Abishkar' (discovery of shoe) by Tagore.
"Themed on Kaviguru's comedy Juta Abishkar, our pandal is made of Bengal's dying artform 'Tisumkari' which is all about creating live size objects with tissue paper," Biswas said.
Life size nagras had been created by these artists brought from the locality of Balagarh in Hooghly district who executed the theme based on the Tagorean work, Biswas said.
"Like past years, when we had sought to highlight the dying art of Bengal, this year we have sought to bring to focus the near extinct community and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appreciated our initiative during her visit," he said.
In Dumdum Mall Pally Sarbojonin, an award-winning puja in the northern hub - slate, sahaj path, Barnoporichoyo cover, ludo games, 'gulti' (indigenous dirt game of Bengal) have been imaginatively used to recreate the interior and exterior of a pandal.
"Our theme is Saisahbe Phera' (revisiting the childhood)," Santanu Sengupta said on behalf of the organisers.
In 75-year-old Park Circus Sarbojonin, the organisers have given stress on saving the green and the theme music is composed by eminent Bengali lyricist-musician Joy Sarkar.
Further down south at Sonarpur Sahebpara, the Power House Sarbojanin Durga Puja has chosen to portray the art and culture of Rajasthan through the pandal and the idol of Devi Durga.
Live performances of folk music and dance, characteristic of the state, will help create the ambiance every evening at the Puja premises during the festive days, Joint Secretary Upasana Bhattacharya said.
At Elachi, Narendrapur on the outskirts of Kolkata, Milan Sangha Sarbajanin Durgotsav has portrayed the recent devastating Nepal earthquake through intricate bamboo, cloth and thermocol work.
Named "Prakriti vs Sabhyata" (nature vs civilisation), the pandal is drawing huge footfall.
At Green Park Sarbojonin, also in Narendrapur, the ancient form of Durga, as existed 5,000 years ago in Nepal, was recreated. The theme has been named "Dasa Mahavidya", the club's general secretary, Biswajit Das, said.