Cruise through Bahubali's Mahismati, test-tube babies and Kumartuli this Durga Puja (Societal Feature)
Let your Durga Puja travelogue be a medley of cinema, sensitisation and emotion this year.
Walk through the palace of Mahishmati, the ancient kingdom portrayed in "Bahubali 2"; let specialists answer your queries on IVF, or learn about the life and work of the Kumartuli potters, whose creations -- the famed clay Durga idols -- symbolise the very spirit of eastern India's biggest carnival of piety, fun, food and fiesta.
Teeming with over 3,000 Pujas (marquees), the city is all set to welcome the goddess and her children. It is also suitably decked up to shock and awe visitors -- both domestic and international.
For starters, in the northeastern fringes of the city, a 100-foot-high marquee, mirroring the set of Mahishmati, is to come up at the Sreebhumi Sporting Club's venue.
"Given the popularity of the film series, we thought it will not only be a big crowd-puller but also showcase a slice of the variety in Indian culture," D.K. Goswami of the club told IANS.
Preferring to keep the budget under wraps, Goswami, however, doled out the basic design of the pandal.
The entry would be through a giant archway where an elephant with its raised trunk will be standing atop pedestals. Amarendra Bahubali would be seen climbing along the trunk -- as in the sequel's posters.
"The entire pandal would be made of plywood and fibre and the figures would be life size. The goddess would don gold jewellery in the style of the film. It is worth Rs 10 crore," Goswami said.
Also along the city's fringes, on the EM Bypass arterial stretch connecting east and south Kolkata, is the Purbalok Sarbojanin (community puja) which is dabbling in IVF and test-tube babies as its theme.
"The prime motivation for us was to dispel myths surrounding the procedure and also generate awareness on fraudulent practices," Kuntal Choudhury of Purbalok Sarbojanin told IANS.
Budgeted at Rs 28 lakh, the pandal, shaped like a uterus, is coming to life with over 4,000 glass test tubes, beakers, burettes and other paraphernalia narrating events leading to a genesis of life with respect to the IVF procedure.
IVF specialists, including Baidyanath Chakraborty and others, are expected to be present to deal with the FAQs surrounding the procedure.
Meanwhile, the 86-year-old Kumartuli Sarbojanin adjacent to the potters' quarters, is busy dealing with another fact of life. They are showing the inception of the goddess Durga from straw and clay to adorning her with the prettiest of clothes and jewellery to bidding her adieu on the fifth and last day of the festival through the customary immersion.
The marquee houses a Durga idol on a trolley, idols of her children ferried by labourers and a truck outside the structure signifying the final journey of the goddess to the immersion ghats.
The marquee is fabricated with the items the craftsmen use to bring the goddess to life -- bamboo, wood, straw and clay.
"We craft the idol with reverence as we think of her as our own daughter. When the puja ends and the goddess departs (immersion), the feeling is the same when your own daughter sets off with her husband after marriage for a new life," said Babu Pal, a spokesperson for the idol makers.
(Sahana Ghosh can be contacted at email@example.com)
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