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Capital creates her own Durga

Capital creates her own Durga
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Created by Kolkata-based sculptor Guranga Kuila, the 16 feet tall and 12.5 feet wide sculpture has been fashioned out of brass replicas of items like leaves of the mango and bael leaves, diyas, brass water vessels - all traditional offerings to the Goddess Durga.

The idol of the goddess itself, a monumental 20 feet high and 26 feet wide has been transported to Delhi from Kolkata where it was handcrafted with seven types of clay by sculptor Pradeep Rudrapal, who has earned fame for his spectacular idols.

‘It took four trucks and over 7 days to transport the idol from Kolkata. Over 45 labourers helped carry it to the stage where she will be worshipped during Durga Puja celebrations,’ says Shanker Chakravarthy, a member of the organising committee.

While with an estimated budget ranging between Rs 75 lakhs to Rs 1 crore, the Arambag committee wants to make this year’s celebration special. Former President Abdul Kalam inaugurated the Buddha-themed pandal late last evening.

Other Durga Puja committees in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) area, which is estimated to number over 800, are also geared up with special themes and festivities.
For Vishvajit Pal, a sculptor from Krishnanagar in West Bengal, the days leading to the Durga Puja are quite busy.

Pal, who has been making idols for the past 30 years has been coming to Delhi since the past 9 years. At the Delhi Durga Puja Samiti, he is overseeing preparations for at least 10 idols that will be dispatched to various committees across the city. One of the idols is for the Kashmiri Gate Puja Samiti, which hosts the oldest Durga Puja celebration in the Delhi and NCR region.

‘Our puja turns 104 years old this year. We maintain the old style followed by gererations and seldom deviate from tradition. The idols of the goddess and everything else is created in the traditional style,’ says Barun Mukherjee, President, Kashmiri Gate Puja Samiti.

Mukherjee, who has been associated with the Puja since 1955, says many founding members have grown old and moved away but still ensure they visit it every year. Kashmiri Gate, Karol Bagh, Kali Bari and Timarpur count amongst the oldest Durga Puja Samitis in Delhi. The Tirmarpur Samiti is celebrating its 100th Puja this year, and the others too are more or less in the same zone.

‘This year I have worked on 400 pandals. One of the best is a pandal in south Kolkata where elephants, fish and birds carved on wood flank the Goddess,’ says Gouranga Kulia, a handicraftsman.
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