Amidst the crowd of ‘theme pujas’ in the city, several Durga puja committees have been continuing with the traditional idols of the goddess and still drawing countless number of visitors.
Many of the puja organisers use a ‘theme’ and their pandals, idols and lighting arrangements follow that theme.
But the traditionalists mainly use innovative pandals and lighting arrangements to catch the attention of the people.
Three such puja committees that follow the ‘parampara’ modelled their pandals on three famous temples from West and South India this year.
They are the ancient Sun Temple at Modhera village in Gujarat, the Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu and the Swaminarayan Temple of Gujarat.
The around 1000-year-old sand stone structure of the Sun Temple of Modhera has been recreated by the Singhi Park puja committee of south Kolkata.
People tend to lose the connection with tradition and culture amid all the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a Singhi Park puja committee spokesman said.
“Singhi Park will give you a chance to get the essence of our culture here in Kolkata the moment you visit the ancient shrine that is originally located on the bank of the river Pushpavati,” the spokesman said.
People want to see big pandals, lightning and traditional idol here “and not elaboration of a concept through art work in the pandal and idol,” he said.
The pandal of the Ekdalia Evergreen, located opposite to the Singhi Park, is a replica of the Brihadeshwara Temple of Thanjavur, a Dravidian architecture built during the Chola dynasty over 1000 years back.
“No issue with others who experiment with different themes. Lakhs throng our pandal every year to see our pandal, idol and lighting and they won’t like switching to themes,” Subrata Mukherjee, president of Ekdalia Evergreen and a West Bengal minister, said.
The College Square puja committee’s Durga puja mandap in east Kolkata has reproduced the Swaminarayan Temple of Gujarat in its pandal.
“We don’t believe in tinkering with the tradition.
College Square has always been known for its pandal, traditional idol and lighting, which is reflected on the water of the swimming pool (located beside the pandal),” puja committee member Paltu Bhattacharya said.
At the Singhi Park pandal, an illuminated replica of the Eiffel Tower has come up at the entrance to remind people of this year’s FIFA World Cup champion – France.
At Ekdalia, real Benarasi has been draped around the traditional idol of the goddesses.
“Our lighting depicts various circus games for the enjoyment of children and make their accompanying elders revisit childhood,” Ekdalia organisers said.
Bhattacharya of the College Square said, the innovative illumination on water will include a ship cruising, blooming lotus and a fire ball coming out of a frame.
The idol will be the same as in past 70 years, he said.