Do Not Miss These Unique Durga Puja Pandals In Kolkata

The repertoire of themes in Durga Puja pandals this year is diverse—from narratives around the Partition to the works of celebrated writer Sukumar Ray. Here's a guide to the most interesting ones
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For representation purposes only Shutterstock

The autumnal festival of Durga Puja is one of the most popular celebrations in Kolkata. Durga Puja was added to UNESCO's list of 'Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity' in 2021. Durga Puja in Kolkata takes months to organise and prep, with thousands of craftspersons creating the idols and jaw-dropping structures (pandals) that house them. Here's a guide to some of the most unique pandals this year.

Behala Nutan Dol

Kolkata's iconic streetside food, phuchka, is the theme at this pandal. The phuchka theme is a metaphor for the actual concept, which is "tushti" or contentment. Students from Utrecht's HKU University of the Arts have collaborated on the theme with installation artist Ayan Saha, creating an animated video installation with images of the city and the role of phuchka in the life of people in Kolkata.

Location: 16 Sashibhusan Mukherjee Road, Behala

Naktala Udayan Sangha Puja

This pandal theme revolves around the difficulties that refugees encountered during the Partition of Bengal. In fact Nakatala was an area where many uprooted families who had crossed the border settled down. The stories and belongings (such as sindoor boxes and refugee certificates) of some of the displaced people can be seen around the pandal.

Everywoman At Arjunpur Amra Sabai Club

Women's rights forms the crux of the theme at this pandal. The striking 15ft idol of Durga stands in a posture of defiance. Sculpted by renowned artist Bhabatosh Sutar, she is Ganadebata, and represents every woman who faces struggles and emerges like a phoenix. Unlike the perfectly assembled idols you normally see in pandals, this one stands out with unkempt hair and a rough texture, signifying all the struggles women have been through.

Location: Off VIP Road, near Arjunpur, Taltala

Sukumar Ray's Works At Hatibagan Nabin Pally

The theme of this pandal is "Abol Tabol," one of Bengal's most iconic works of literature (originally written for children but enjoyed by adults as well). Written by the legendary Sukumar Ray, the collection of nonsense rhymes was first released in September 1923. He was the son of acclaimed director Satyajit Ray and children's story writer Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Sukumar Ray's death. The pandal, which is done in black and white, displays his works and famous characters from the books.

Location: Nalin Sarkar Street, Near Shyam Bazaar, North Kolkata

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