Durga Puja is an annual Hindu festival which is celebrated with much fervor and devotion particularly in eastern regions of India. The preparation for Durga Puja begins weeks before the celebration. Pandals are constructed to house massive idol of Goddess Durga for public viewing where people come to seek the blessings on this auspicious day. The idol of Goddess Durga features ten arms, each one of them holding weapon. Along with Durga, Sarawati, Ganesha, Lakshmi and Kartikeya are also worshipped during the festival. Maa Durga is shown riding on a lion. Modern Durga pandals are spectacular sight to see during the festival. They are adorned with best of artistic décor and innovative themes and designs. Sitting arrangements are also provided near the pandal for the devotees. Children indulge in pandal hopping during the festival to have a glimpse of the deity. Durga Puja celebration is held for ten days after which the Durga idol is immerse in river or pond. Scroll down to learn all about Durga Puja pandals.
Making of Durga Puja Pandal
Pandals are canopies for housing Durga idol during the Durga Puja festival. These large canopies are supported by sets of bamboo poles adorned with multi-colored fabrics. The making of Pandal involves lot of work, using wooden planks, bamboo poles and fabrics. Sometimes pandals are built on themes inspired by ancient civilizations such as Incas or Egyptian civilization. Today, people choose many modern and contemporary themes such as Harry Potter and RMS Titanic. The décor of pandals are generally prepared by architecture and art students in Kolkata. However, the expenses for theme based pandals are usually higher than traditional pandals. They also draw large crowds during the celebration. Today, theme-based pandals have become rage all over Bengal and in other parts of India. Many of the Durga Pandals being financed by rich have also become trends in Barwari Puja that is community celebration of Durga Puja. Of late, there are even luxury designer pandals strewn with intricate patterns, flowers and lightings so much so that the pandals almost appear like palaces. In these elegantly designed pandals, the goddess Durga is worshipped and hordes of people pour in to pay visit and pray to the goddess to seek her blessings.
Durga Idols seen in West Bengal are very famous and are made by skilled artisans. These artisans follow strict rules that each and every material that goes into the making of idols are obtained from the proper sources as per the traditions. They take almost several months to form beautiful idols of Durga. Often bamboo sticks are utilized to create the interiors of the idol and also to get the correct shape for the idol. Jutes ropes, strings and straw are also being used for the making of idol.
During Durga Puja, many devotees throng the pandals to seek blessings from Goddess Durga, also fondly called as Maa Durga in Bengal. Special prizes are also awarded to the organizers with best pandal designs.