X-mas: Chandannagore light artisans add glitter to Park Street

Kolkata: The light artisans of Chandannagore have proved their mettle once again by converting Park Street into a dream zone during Christmas.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the Christmas festival at Allen Park on December 20 and the areas surrounding the park have been lit up brightly.

The one kilometer stretch on Park Street from Asiatic Society to Mullickbazar intersection has been illuminated. Thousands of people who have visited the area have converted it intoa sea of people.

The main person behind the decoration is Babu Pal of Chandannagore. Because of illness he could not visit the area and see his magic.

New items have been introduced and blue and green lights give a mystic feeling after sundown. The boards displaying different figures have also been made in Chandannagore.

For the past six months the light artisans have been working on the cut-out boards and lights which have been put up along Park Street. Every decoration is hand woven. The lights that are put across the road create a mystic appearance.

The lights of Chandannagore are famous across the country.

In Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Haryana big marriages and religious festivals are incomplete without the lights from Chandannagore.

It was famous Kali Puja organiser Phata Kesto who had first brought the lights from Chandannagore to decorate the areas surrounding College Street in the early 1970s.

From then it has become a part and parcel of big budget Pujas to use these lights. In 2021, the lights of the famous Durga Puja pandal in Lake Town which resembled the structure of Bhurj Khalifa of Dubai were made by Babu Pal.

Pal said Covid-19 had affected the light industry very badly. But the situation has improved and it is limping back to normalcy.

"The light companies of Chandannagore and Bhadreshwar supply decorative lights across the country. If the situation further impoves, our industry will see its glorious days once again," said a light artisan.

Christmas celebration of Calcutta (now Kolkata) was famous since Warren Hastings became the Governor General.

In 1772 he decorated Park Street with candles and the senior officials of British East India Company used to come to the city to enjoy Christmas.

To welcome them a band used to play and so the area opposite Eden Gardens is still called Band Stand.

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