Bangalis and Durga Pujo are inseparable. That time of the year is just around the corner as the leaves of autumn turn a fiery red and the city awakens to the rhythms of dhak and dhunuchi. Dressing up in your best attire, late-night pandal hopping with friends and family and indulging in a lot of street food and Bangali sweets. Oh, and how do we forget the street delicacies – those fish cutlets with mustard sauce, nolen gurer rosogolla, bhapa doi, moglai, etc?
There is an apparent feeling of excitement for 2023 as the most famous Durga Pujo pandals in Kolkata reveal their themes and weave elaborate stories that will fascinate the eyes and move the spirit, promising a visual extravaganza that surpasses expectations. Listed below are a few themes that you should definitely explore on your pandal-hopping journey to discover the artistic expressions that will redefine the essence of this age-old tradition.
Pathuriaghata Pancher Pally
Pathuriaghata Pancher Palli Sarbojanin Durgotsab disclosed their Durga Pujo theme during their banner launch on International Menstrual Hygiene Day. The banner launch ceremony was titled ‘Now it’s time to remove the veil’. The theme title of the Pujo is ‘Ritumati’. The Pujo committee envisions addressing and raising awareness of these concerns as the first step towards shattering menstruation-related taboos. The Pujo pandal will be based on installation art like paintings, models, and graphics that will emphasize menstrual hygiene.
Jagat Mukherjee Park
Jagat Mukherjee Park has an intriguing theme planned for 2023. 64-year-old Fulkumari Das, who has been a live nude model since the age of 16 for art college students for over four decades will be the subject of the Jagat Mukherjee Park pandal. The theme of the Pujo will be unveiled by Fulkumari herself at a function to be held at the park. Inside the pandal, the ambience will transport devotees into the heart of an artist’s studio, where creativity knows no bounds. The decorations and setting surrounding the idol create a world that, although out of the ordinary, beckons the curious and art lovers alike.
Sreebhumi Sporting Club
Year after year, Lake Town Sreebhumi Sporting Club never fails to astonish the devotees with their exquisite pandals. They are all set to tap into their creative potential this year with the wonderfully mesmerizing theme of Disneyland. A celebration of unsurpassed magnificence and charisma that will captivate the hearts and imaginations of all who view it is promised by the union of Durga Pujo and Disneyland, both icons in their own ways.
Santosh Mitra Square
Santosh Mitra Square, also commonly known as Lebutala Park has been celebrating Durga Pujo for more than 86 years, making it a significant celebration on Kolkata’s traditional calendar. Their Durga Pujo, which usually centres around religious and mythical tales, demonstrates an exquisite blend of ritual and artistry. They set off on an incredible trip in 2023 with the theme of Ayodhya Ram Mandir, the holy birthplace of Lord Rama, who is believed to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu.
Kalyani, a quaint village tucked away in the Nadia region of West Bengal, shot to prominence and praise last year owing to the incredible extravaganza of the Petronas Twin Towers pandal. This year the club members are prepping up for another stellar Pujo, hoping to exceed the expectations of the devotees. The Grand Lisboa in Macau is the theme of the 2023 Durga Pujo pandal at Kalyani. It is expected to be an iconic theme. This enormous structure is renowned across the world for its unmatched grandeur and promises an even more breathtaking Durga Pujo celebration.
With just a few days left and Durga Pujo lingering around the corner, these pandals are more than just architectural marvels; they are dynamic narratives that entice the soul. Every pandal has a different story to tell, ranging from tackling taboos around menstruation hygiene to honouring the life of a remarkable live nude model. Other themes include a magnificent Disneyland, the ageless Ayodhya Ram Mandir, the magnificence of the Grand Lisboa, and a magical Disneyland. As you go out on your pandal-hopping adventure in the next few days, soak into these artistic manifestations and see how they turn Kolkata’s streets into a fascinating mosaic of creativity, devotion, and culture.