Saturday, September 27, 2014

Arambagh Puja goes eco-friendly; Recreates mini-Kolkata with food and festivity galore

Arambagh Puja is best known for its uniqueness in celebration and creating Kolkata’s  environment with the city’s sumptuous cuisines and and festivities during the Durga Pujas. The Arambagh Puja, which celebrated its silver jubilee last year with the theme of “Buddha” and “world peace” at a budget of Rs. 1 crore, has consciously decided to keep the budgets low for this year, keeping the major calamities that occurred in Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and Meghalaya recently. For the entire duration of the pujas, Arambagh Puja Samiti will run a special fund raising campaign to collect money and aid for the flood victims of Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya and Assam. The pujas, however, will retain its essence with the same fervour creating a mini-Kolkata to woo puja lovers.

Arambagh Puja has adopted completely eco-friendly ways to celebrate the pujas this year in its aim to deliver a message to the society that people should learn to cohabit with nature instead of destroying nature. The idols have been made with different kind of materials which have no harmful effects and do not pollute water. From the goddess’ idol to the murals and illustrations on the walls, everything has been made with organic materials. Even the sari of the idol is made up of mud though it looks like an original piece of garment andthe entire decoration of the pandal has been  done with thermocol and mud. Other eco-friendly materials such as waste paper, herbal colours, straw and bamboo has been used, that have minimum impact on the ecology.

In a major attraction this year, Puja lovers will witness a big, severed head of a buffalo, measuring a whopping 50 feet in height and 30 feet in width, which will serve as the facade of the pandal. The severed head of the buffalo that signifies the demon Mahishasura represents annihilation of demonic and evil power from each segment of the society - whether it was back in the age of Mahabharata or today’s tumultuous times. The organizers want to send out the message that just like Mahishasura, the guilty is always punished and justice is meted out in the end.

Tapan Bose, eminent Art Director has combined brilliantly with Pranab Roy, world famous mural designer, to construct the theme of the pandal and its interiors. While Salil Bhattacharya is making the idol of Maa Durga, two famous artists from Kumartuli have specially come down to New Delhi to design special sarees forthe Pratima. Bapi Bose, one of the most prominent Directors in contemporary Indian theatre, is in charge of lights and effects.

Mr Abhijit Bose, Executive Chairman of Arambagh Puja Samiti said, “Our entire Durga Puja arrangements is not only a celebration of Maa Durga and her victory over the evil Mahishasura, but is a call against all the bad practices as well. We urge to end corruption, dowry, violence against women and other sporadic wickedness in society. For years, Durga Puja has become one occasion for people to come out, celebrate, meet and greet, have food and go home. We wanted to redefine the concept of celebrations. So we started putting emphasis on social themes and bring cultural personalities to signify the importance of issues such as this. Kolkata’s famed caterers will join Purani Dilli’s counterparts to serve tantalising food. Over a lakh people are expected to hit the pandal.”

 “We have just witnessed havoc in Jammu and Kashmir and others states continue to face floods. So we have restricted our budgets this year and hope to make a small difference to the lives of the victims via our special find raising campaign,” Mr Bose added.

The cultural activities promise to be an extravaganza, with eminent artistes from Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata performing at ArambaghPuja during different days. While playback singer Babul Supriyo will inaugurate the Puja, Bengal’s Srikanto Acharya and Rathin Kisku will also perform, besides some well-known bands such as Bhoomi. Taal The Beat – a multimedia dance programme will be held to highlight the theme of this year.