Innovative thematic puja pandals pop up in Northeast India

Guwahati: Have you ever imagined an enormous queen bee sitting at the entrance of a Durga Puja pandal? Or an entire pandal made out of plastic bottles? Well, creativity seems to be the buzzword for Durga Puja organising committees as they continue to come out with unique themes year after year.

While it’s almost impossible to list out all the pandals that deserve a special mention in this regard, here are some of them.

The Athgaon Binapani Puja Committee in Guwahati has made a pandal around the theme of a queen bee protecting her bee hive inside a cave. Constructed at a cost of Rs 15 lakh, the queen bee adorns the entrance of the puja pandal, and as you go inside, you will find a cave with a bee hive, spiders and all sorts of creatures.

Sukalan Roy, a member of the organising committee, said, “We are trying to give the people an experience of a forest, something that we are losing in a very fast pace.” He further added, “The artisans have all been brought in from Kolkata, who specialise in making such thematic pandals.”

About 9,200 plastic bottles were used to make this puja pandal in Kahilipara in Guwahati

Another puja pandal which has attracted a lot of attention is the Shubhasangha Durga Puja Samiti of Kahilipara. Here, you will find a pandal made out of 9,200 plastic bottles especially purchased for the puja. Dhrubojyoti Purakayastha, assistant general secretary of the Samiti, said, “It is an attempt to spread the message of recycling plastic bottles.”

When asked about the fate of these bottles once the puja is over, Purakayastha said, “We are going to send the bottles back to the factories for recycling.”

However, at a time when environmentalists around the world are struggling to get rid of all things plastic, such a huge number of plastic bottles brought in to make a pandal raises a questions on the environment-friendly aspect of puja celebrations.

Clay pots and earthen lamps were used to make this pandal at Guwahati’s Bishnupur area

The Sri Sri Sarvajanik Durga Puja Committee in Guwahati has kept the environment in mind while making its pandal with around 11,000 clay pots and earthen lamps. Built at a cost of around Rs 10 lakh, Mukesh Tiwari, a member of the puja committee, said, “We want to make sure that we do not harm the environment while celebrating puja. And, we want people to realise that we can decorate pandals with home-made things.”

In Silchar, Assam, too you will find puja pandals with unique themes such as the one based on the Vidyasagar Setu of Kolkata and another one on the Titanic ship that sank in 1912. In Barpeta district’s Pathsala town, a group of three students have come out with Durga idols made out of used newspapers.

As far as creativity is concerned, Tripura’s puja committees do not lag far behind.

The Desh Bandhu Chittaranjan Club, through their pandal in Agartala, have replicated the palace of Mahishmati, as depicted in the popular film series ‘Baahubali’. Similarly, the theme for Agartala-based Modern Club’s puja pandal this year is ‘Titanic’, the British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912.

A theme which is surely going to be a hit among the children, the MBB Club in Agartala went a step ahead to incorporate the theme of ‘Bachha Party’ by decorating an entire pandal out of edible candies, toffees and other sweets.

Tripura’s Chatra Bandhu Club has made a pandal, which is an imitation of Bengal’s Dakshineswar Kali temple. However, unlike the real temple where you cannot click photos inside the complex, in this ‘temple’ you can.

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