Here’s my first account of a Puja Pandal that I visited yesterday. Know what Durga Puja means for the citizens of Kolkata in a previous blog.
A lane that few days ago was simply serving the purpose of commuting is today a canvas that has on display riots of colours, varieties of patterns and an awe-inspiring idol of Maa Durga. Conveying many different messages, the street for the next 10 days will be bringing alive the thought, the emotion and the dreams of the entire team of Tridhara Akalbodhan.
As I took a turn towards the pandal, the fiery red colour and the art installations caught my eye and I was intrigued to learn about the theme for the year. A huge setup enthralled the onlookers and the cameras were busy capturing the beauty that was on display. I wonder but, can the lenses capture the essence? To gain a better understanding of the essence, I craved to discover the purpose of the elements that went into the making of this spectacular pandal.
The theme for the year is – ‘Drishtikon’ – Perspectives and the thoughtfully planned elements beautifully give a vivid picture to the message. A number of portraits of women catch your eye and as you walk ahead, towards the idol, the portraits (based on the mechanism of the blinds window style) turn into Maa Durga’s benevolent face! “Each woman has Maa Durga in her, it’s just the way you look at her, if you have that eyes to look at the lady with that perspective” shedding some light on the theme, said Ms. Gargi Mukherjee, Media Coordinator, Tridhara. I was amazed at the way the message was thought about and brought to life!
The second element that adds on to the charm of the pandal was the cages. What do these beautiful cages signify, I wondered. A prisoner of our fate, of our many limitations and the society, women are in some way or the other prisoners of their own thoughts and life. The cages are installed to symbolize the way women of today are still prisoners due to many different reasons.
Another striking aspect of the pandal that also demands attention is the ceiling/roof. No pandal ceiling is ever boring and the space is utilized to convey a message by the way of art. At Tridhara, the ceiling/roof was used to depict the concept of reflection. A mirror to reflect the art installations conveyed the message of pausing for a while and reflecting on our life choices, on the key concepts that drive us and to consider the endless possibilities that await us only if we realize the need of transforming, not only for us but also for the generations to come.
I was completely spellbound and couldn’t fathom the thought that so much can be conveyed by way of a pandal and about how amazing is the language of art – Much more so when combined with the power of devotion! I stopped for a while to let the magnanimity of the concept seep in.
To bring alive the concept, a team of many artisans work under the guidance of Gauranga Kuila, Chief Art Director and the brain behind the brilliant concept. A variety of materials ranging from corrugated sheets, glass, clay and foam sheets were used to create the wonderful spectacle.
To witness the brilliance that Tridhara presents with utmost love, care and dedication, every year more than lakhs of visitors visit the pandal and the long list of awards and accolades are testimony to the consistent success of the Puja. But, the dedication and the love for Maa Durga can never be measured by way of awards and accolades. It is the joy that reflects in the eyes of the devotees and the heads that bow in reverence for the divine idol that is of the greatest value for every team member.
To create a place that enables the visitors to connect with divinity, share an important message and keep alive the culture of Kolkata is what Tridhara does successfully year after year. It takes more than 3 – 4 months to bring the plan to fruition. A lot of measures to ensure security of the pandal subject to weather changes are taken into consideration. Gauranga Kuila and his team work at Medinipore and assemble the pandal, closer to Mahalaya at the location. On an average, 30 – 40 lakhs is the budget for the Puja pandal. Can you believe it, that these are temporary structures and that the street will again go back to being what it was as Puja ends! The departure and the dismantling is painful but it does remind us about the impermanent nature of things and to look forward to another beautiful experience next year.
The above images are sourced from Tridahra’s Facebook page.
Beyond the Annual Pujas – Tridhara’s Activities towards Social Responsibility
With many awards, accolades and media recognition to their name, Tridhara has been active for 70+ years. Apart from Durga Puja celebrations, Tridhara also works for many social causes. Education support and community welfare are some of the key social causes that Tridhara actively takes charge of, all through the year. The noble social services are conducted by Tridhara Sammilani and I also learnt about the organization providing with the facility of body cooling equipment for the purpose of embalmment. The machine can help to preserve a body for 72 hrs. and for those who cannot afford the machine, Tridhara Sammilani provides it for free.
If you wish to support the noble causes, you may reach out to them here – http://www.tridhara.org/
I’m extremely grateful to Ms. Gargi Mukherjee for giving me her time and for enlightening about the amazing concepts that go on to define one of the city’s finest Pujo. Thank you so much.
HOW TO REACH:
You can either take a bus or an auto from Minto Park to Tridhara. The closest Metro Station would be JD park and about a 15 min walk from there.
Other Pujo pandals that you can cover along with Tridhara are Hindustan Park, Deshapriya Park, Ballygunge Cultural and a little further ahead towards Elgin Road, you can cover Northern Park, Chakraberia, Paddupukur and Ramesh Mitra. This would cover all the major popular pandals of South Kolkata.