Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012 Shivaji Park Bengal Club Durga Pandal

Shivaji Park's Bengal Club celebrated its 77th annual Durga Puja this year. The pandal, designed by art director Abhishek Redkar, was centered on Rabindranath Tagore's ancestral home. Nobel laureate Tagore was born in Thakur Bari, a red brick house which today is a museum located on the campus of the Rabindra Bharati University at Jorasanko, Kolkata. See photos of the 2013 pandal, a replica of Bishnupur Temples here.
The 2-storeyed pandal of the Shivaji Park Bengal Club is an authentic replica of that famous home, simplistic in design with the same hues & even with the railings (see photos below).

The idol of Goddess Durga is 22 feet high and is not made from plaster of paris but from eco-friendly materials,  with the basic structure made from soil brought in from the River Ganga and made by rural artisans. Even the colours and pandal decorations are eco-friendly, without the use of any toxic materials.
Goddess Durga
On the right of Goddess Durga is Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi (images below).

Lord Ganesha with His mount the mouse

Goddess Lakshmi with Her mount Uluka the owl
On the left side of the Goddess are the idols of Goddess Saraswati and Karthikeya (images below).

Goddess Saraswati with a swan, which is why this Goddess is referred to as 'Hansa-Vahini'

Karthikeya with His mount the peacock
Visitor Tips
It is a good idea to visit in the morning to avoid the throngs of visitors who come from distant parts of the city & suburbs. You can avail of the deity's darshan at any time of the day, but the last aarti concludes at 8p.m.  The 3-day bhog is on saptami, ashtami and navami.

I visited in the morning just before 11a.m. and was present when the prayers were in progress and was happy to be able to receive the holy water.

Prasad is also distributed on some days (slices of varied fruits & pedha)

There are a number of stalls adjacent to the pandal. These stalls are selling a wide variety of items including traditional Bengali sarees and handlooms, kurtas for gents, salwar-kameez embroidered fabrics for ladies, handbags, jewellery, handicrafts, bed linen, footwear, etc.

On one side are the food stalls where you can eat piping hot traditional Bengali food (other types of  cuisine are also available) as well as Bengali sweetmeats.

On the right side as you enter from the main entrance, an area has been demarcated for small stage concerts as well as for organizing various competitions for children & adults.

When I visited, a drawing competition for kids was in progress. From the photos you can see how earnestly engrossed the budding young artists are!! 


You must visit the Shivaji Park's Bengal Club Durga pandal at least once before the last day, namely Dussehra.

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