Saturday, October 9, 2010

সল্টলেকে শারদউত্সব ২০১০

Salt Lake City on the eastern fringes of Calcutta, (often referred to as Bidhannagar, after it’s founder and inceptor Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy, the erstwhile Chief Minister of West Bengal) is a satellite township. Excuse me for being repetitive, but my love affair with Salt Lake dates back to the early nineties. I have been a resident of this once quaint, but now a sprawling neighborhood of about 300,000 people; for about 5 years.

It is often cursed and termed as an elitist’s address, it comes to life during the festival of Durga Pujo. People here like to keep to themselves and the ‘para-culture’ is conspicuous by it’s absence. However, it does a volte-face during Pujo and people in its otherwise sleepy lanes wake up to welcome ‘Maa Durga’ in their hearts, lanes and homes !

Salt Lake  is broadly divided into ‘Sectors’ and each Sector is then broken down into ‘Blocks’. Each block is a unit comprising of at least few hundred homes, each with a character of its own. There are four sectors that make up Salt Lake namely Sector I, II, III IV, and Sector V (IV and V are commercial and industrial sectors, while the other three are residential). There are about 30 blocks; each designated with a set of alphabets like AA, AB, AC …

Each block has at least one Sarbajanin Pujo, some bigger blocks have even two. If one does not have a penchant for roaming the streets of Kolkata and lining up for ঠাকুর দেখা, you will find Salt Lake a departure from the congestion, at least some what. With more and more big budget Pujos now dotting this town, even that is fast changing.

So, I roamed about my own town, like a tourist; armed with a camera. Below are some shots and a brief synopsis of a select few, an AllThingsCoolKata exclusive :)

Starting from one tip of Salt Lake, I got real lucky at AD block Pujo Pandal. One rarely gets to see দূর্গা ঠাকুর at a pandal before the Pujos are actually inaugurated, let alone capture it in your lens (unless of-course @ Kumartuli)

  • Block: AE – Part (I)
  • Year of inception: 1983
  • Budget: 10 Lacs
  • Look – The theme is folk culture of Bengal. The interior of the pandal is being decorated with mats, bamboo sticks and dolls in folk dance postures.







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  • Block – AG
  • Inception Year: 1988
  • Budget: 3 Lacs
  • Theme: The pandal resembles ‘Jorasanko Thakur Bari’ and paintings by Tagore will be put up inside.

IMG_0937 IMG_0938 08102010972 08102010973

* Last two pictures were taken last evening, after Lights on !

  • Block: BJ
  • Year of inception: 1984
  • Budget: 10 Lacs
  • Look – The pandal is being made to capture the essence of Tagore’s idea of nature. Excerpts from his poem will be written on the panels. Durga will be adorned in daaker saaj. Given this is Tagore’s 150 anniversary year, a procession of 150 people carrying 150 candles will be brought out in the block on Panchami.


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  • Block: CJ
  • Year of inception: 1985
  • Look – হাজার চালা (A family of one thousand Goddesses and Gods)

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  • Block: AA
  • Year of inception: 1977
  • Budget: 4.5 Lacs
  • Theme: The pandal is an imaginary temple. The Goddess will bear a modern look with silver decor

IMG_0953 IMG_0957 Bengal’s other love, football being played in a park opposite from the AA pandal


  • Block: AD
  • Year of inception: 1978
  • Budget: 7 Lacs
  • Theme: Traditional, and idol being sculpted by Pradip Rudrapal


  • Block: AH
  • Year of inception: 1984
  • Budget: 6.5 Lacs
  • Theme: The pandal will be an imaginary temple with a traditional eckhala idol



  • Block: FD
  • Year of inception: 1983
  • Theme: One of the biggest Pujo in Salt Lake, if not the biggest. This one has been a blockbuster Pujo, with maximum foot falls with previous global themes like Harry Potter, and Global Warming in previous years. This year it is modeled after the several temples of Haridwar. So it is being called Jora Mandir !

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    Nothing sells better than Brand Durga, not even Brand Sourav ‘Dada’ Ganguly :). Companies, Corporates, Cola Makers, Cereal Brands, Clothiers, Hair Salon to Fertility Clinics every one is out there trying to get their share of the pie and pushing their own brand.  So here are some brand images around the town. Pujo is a huge money spinning industry, worth several million dollars.

    03102010945 Was it possible to think of this a few years back, Maa Durga on a US cereal maker’s box ?


    Our very own Prince charming selling potato chips !



    Go Horlicks!



    Fit Hai Boss – Askhay !

    Hope you enjoyed the pictures !

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