Barwari Puja of the time of Raja Krishna Chandra of Nadia and clay motifs from the Champak Nagari of Chand Saudagar are being brought together by Kidderpore’s Pachhish Pally Sarbojanin Durgatsab Samity this year.
Having shuffled with themes from Mesopotamia to Rome, the organisers have now settled on an ancient puja festival scene in a village of rural Bengal. The artist has conceptualised the theme in a way that the visitor finds it easier to understand. “The puja committees often take up themes so difficult and complex that general public would need a guide to understand what they have come to see. We, however, wanted to keep it simple, highlighting the festive mood of the season,” said Mr Prasanta Pal, the artist. Unlike other pandals, there would be no walls in the compound but clay jhaphris. It would be a scene from a village debasthan where all other deities are worshiped in several different jhaphris. The Durga idol would be prominent and would be kept in the middle of the compound inside a cylindrical jhaphri, said Mr Kali Saha, member of the Puja Samiti. Everything in the compound would be made of clay, wood and hay.
The Durga idol would be designed in a way to match the period the theme is based on. The Durga idol worshipped annually in Krishnagar rajbari is a large, 15-foot clay image known as Rajrajesvari made in traditional style. The idol in Pachhish Pally would not be as tall as the one worshipped in rajbari but would be close to the Krishnagar style. The light arrangement would be another attraction this year. Mr Prasanta Pal said that more than 6,000 specially-designed bulbs will illuminate the whole set up. The bulbs will resemble a clay pradeep (lamp) and will add to the rustic feel.
“We are using the lead-free colours distributed by the various companies and West Bengal Pollution Control Board,” added Mr Pal.
Mr Kali Saha said that the area would have sufficient fire-fighting arrangements. “There would be enough water and sand. Our committee has won several awards in the past for arrangements,” he added. There would also be a doctor and a nurse to take care of people in case of an emergency.
Every year, the committee donates some money to schools, for handicapped children and underprivileged section of the society. This year they have decided to help visually challenged people by supplying them brail-books. “The compound is being designed to portray a village during a festival. We people to be just plain happy when they visit our pandal,” he said.