This year, Durga ushers in love for environment
New Delhi: It’s difficult to miss the Pujo buzz in Chittaranjan Park these days. Pandals are coming up everywhere and people are warming up with competitions and sports meets. Mahalaya, invocation of Goddess Durga, on Saturday morning – with the Sheuli (night-flowering jasmine) in full bloom – has heralded the beginning of the festivities though the ‘dhaak’ beats and ‘dhunuchi naach’ are still a week away.
This year it’s eco-friendly all the way – from the pandals to the pits being created for on-the-spot immersions. “The idols are all made with clay and are completely ecofriendly — from paints to the other materials,” says Ashitava Bhowmik, president of Chittaranjan Park Kali Mandir Society.
The temple is the hub of Bengali social and cultural activities in the area and the Pujo is a traditional one, with an ‘ EkChela’ idol i.e all idols in one frame. In the temple’s backyard, artists are at work, giving finishing touches to the idols that will soon travel to different parts of NCR.
“The materials are all ecofriendly, and one main Durga idol will be immersed,” says P K Paul, general secretary of Dakshin Palli Durga Puja Samiti (Pocket 52). “We are using only water colours and no thermocol. We’re also ma
GREEN STEP: king the saree from clay. This year we will also be extensively using wooden spoons, paper cups and plates,” he adds, reflecting the concern over phasing out of single-use plastic. This is echoed by Mela Ground Pujo’s committee member, Ashim Mukherjee, who says the idols are made of Ganga mati and that no chemicals have been used.
What was started in Pocket 52 six years back is now being replicated across the colony. No one wants to talk about the
The idols are all made with clay and are completely eco-friendly — from paints to the other materials
immersion — with the Agomoni (welcoming Mother) songs filling the air — but arrangements have to be made since Yamuna is out of bounds this year. Most of the committees are digging pits at the venues. Pocket 52 will immerse its 10ft high idol in an underground pit. None of the idols measures 5ft or less, as had been earlier stipulated by the Delhi government – It’s 13ft at Mela Ground and 12ft at Navapalli Puja Samity. While the former will immerse the idol at their own ground, the latter will go to a place allocated to them near Lotus Temple.
Kali Mandir Society has come up with a unique solution. “The idol is around 5ft high, but if you include the base and the chalchitra, it’ll be around 10ft. Since Yamuna isn’t an option, we will use our water harvesting pit for the immersion,” says Bhowmik.
The organisers are not letting the economic gloom affect their mood and festivities. Bhowmik says their budget is Rs 60 lakh, the same as last year. The temple may be better placed to mobilise resources, but even a smaller pujo like Dakshin Palli (Pocket 52) – celebrating its silver jubilee – has a budget of Rs 35 lakh, higher than last year.
Cooperative Ground, known for its tastefully-decorated, theme-based pandals and popular food stalls has a budget of Rs 65 lakh. Secretary Kallol Acharya says the budget is hardly an issue with many PSUs willing to pitch in.
A far cry from the Kolkata pujos in scale and grandeur, these pujos are still an occasion to celebrate mythology, spirituality, art and culture. The B block Pujo, says committee member Sayan Acharya, has adopted a theme of the print on Bengali sarees with maroon, yellow, red and white being highlighted. The Cooperative Ground Pujo is paying tribute to two legendary artistes, Manna Dey and Hemant Kumar, points out Acharya.
Navapalli’s Samriddhi says their theme is ‘astradaan’. “We believe that all gods gave their astras (weapons) to Maa Durga and that’s what we will project in our Pujo this time. There is also a special focus on the third eye of the goddess that you will get to see in the pandal.”
Showing concern for the elderly, Navapalli has made special arrangements for them. “We have even invited people from nearby old-age homes,” says general secretary Ravi Kant Singha. In fact, many pandals have special arrangements for the old during distribution of the daily bhog.
The CR Park Cooperative Ground Puja committee is constructing a permanent tank for immersion of Durga idols