'Green' Durga Pujas shine in Assam this year

Guwahati: Several Durga Puja committees across Assam have used environmental-friendly, recyclable and sustainable materials in their pandals and idols this year.

Traditional bamboo and cane remain favourites as raw materials for pandal decoration, while biodegradable materials are in the rage for idol making.

Sanjib Basak, an artist from Dhubri, has made an idol of the mother goddess using single-use plastic utensils such as spoons and bowls.

Basak said festivals should be used to spread important messages among the masses.

In the previous years, he had used empty COVID vials and match-sticks to bring alive Goddess Durga and her entourage in the form of idols.

Pradip Kumar Ghosh, another idol maker from the same district in western Assam, is utilising the occasion to spread the message of sustainability.

Ghosh has made an idol using coconut waste, while in previous years, he had used sugarcane pulp, discarded cycle tubes and plastic bottles.

A pandal at Tezpur town has used only recyclable materials, completely shunning plastic.

The marquee has been decorated with cane and bamboo materials.

Organisers said they wanted to show people how a beautiful pandal can be built using items available in the nature.

The puja committees in Guwahati are also not behind in creating awareness about environmental conservation.

The Shantipur Durga Puja committee has centred the pandal around the theme ‘heritage’ and used jute leaves for the decoration.

The Chatribari Sarbajanin Debo Pujasthan Samiti is utilising the occasion to motivate people to develop reading and writing habits.

Over 10,000 books in various languages will be displayed in their pandal, which is themed as ‘library’, while two sets of idols have been made one of clay and the other using colourful pens and pencils.

Organisers said they will also be handing over 1,000 books to children visiting the marquee to instill in them a habit of reading books.

The makers of masks of Ravana for Dashami or Dussehra day, which marks the culmination of Durga Puja festivities, are also using recyclable materials.

Surajit Baruah of Sivasagar and his team of eight artisans have been working overtime for the past one month on a large mask of the demon king.

He said only organic raw materials, including natural colours and dyes, have been used for making the mask designed in the traditional Assamese style.

At Gohpur, Biren Nath and his team are also engaged in making another huge Ravana mask using recyclable and organic raw materials.

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