We list out 10 popular pandals across Kolkata for you to hop around this year
This list will help you explore the themes that will be stealing the show this year
Hindustan Park Sarbojanin
Location: Hindustan Park
The pandemic was still wreaking havoc last year, and amidst the turmoil Hindustan Park Sarbojanin made sure to worship the goddess in all its glory. Last year the famed puja was themed Unmochon- The Revelation, which touched base with the idea of society emerging from the darkness like a Phoenix. This year they intend to pay tribute to all the artisans who work day in and day out, away from the limelight to make businesses successful. Titled Jonaki theke Agnisikha, the tribute to the local artisans shall bring upon them the spotlight they truly deserve. Artist Raju Sarkar breathed life into last year’s concept and he will be spinning his magic touch this year too.
Bosepukur Sitala Mandir
In 2021, Bosepukur Sitala Mandir explored a topic that is very much relevant to modern life. Themed Taan, the concept explored the ill effects of smoking and the pandal was shaped like a Hookah. The idea was to delve deep into how much people are really aware of the adversities of smoking, despite watching numerous warnings on television. This year the concept is all about Restoration, and shed light on the neglect of numerous ancient temples of Bengal that require care and attention before they get destroyed forever.
Location: Banamali Naskar Road
Remember the simple pleasures that used to bring a smile on our faces as kids? Be it floating a paper boat on puddles, or fairytales passed down by our grandparents, the newest generation misses out on a lot. The two year pandemic imposed hiatus especially glued them to digital screens. Behala Club, as they step into their 78th year wishes to bring alive all the vibrant aspects of childhood through their theme Kanamachhi Bhno Bhno. Last year they celebrated their 77th year in a traditional setting, with a pandal shaped like a mud hut and bauls gracing the shrine. To add a brownie point, Behala Club has gone pet friendly this year so feel free to bring along your furry friends. Don’t be surprised if you get greeted by their mascot Tiggu, a friendly Royal Bengal Tiger dressed in traditional attire.
Bosepukur Talbagan Sarbojanin
The Indian farmers’ protest in 2020 and 2021 garnered global support as they roared against farm acts passed by the Parliament. Bosepukur Talbagan Sarbojanin’s theme last year was Dhoro Haal Shokto Haate, which displayed the journey of farmers and aspects of their survival. As they step into their 31st year this Pujo, they wish to explore the adversities of communal fundamentalism through the theme Abaruddha. Conceptualised by Animesh, the idol is being given shape by artist Soumen. Through this year’s theme Bosepukur Talbagan Sarbojannin urges one and all to rise above the differences, and come together to stand against religious extremism and fundamentalism.
Santoshpur Lake Pally
Location: Santoshpur Avenue
Keeping in mind all sorts of constraints, be it financial or social, Santoshpur Lake Pally kept things simple last year with a theme named Paribar, meaning family. The theme explored different aspects that constitute the daily life of a common family, and put forth the idea of Maa Durga coming with her offspring as the central idea of it. This year with COVID restrictions easing out, the famous Club has also managed to gather almost threefolds of the budget last year and is working on a theme named Japanchitra- The Living Image where life will be portrayed through aspects of a film. As they celebrate their 65th year, and the occasion of Durga Puja getting the UNESCO Heritage tag, the main attraction will be an idol that touches a height of 25ft. The idol and the pandal is being conceptualised by artist Avijit Ghatak, and the sound designing for their theme song is being helmed by Mumbai based artist Utsav Mondal.
Location: Peary Mohan Roy Road
2021 saw one of the most renowned Pujas of Kolkata- Chetla Agrani pay a hearty tribute to the COVID warriors across all fields. An Amar Jawan Jyoti was placed to pay respect to the ones who fought relentlessly for the society to come out of the dark times. This year, Chetla Agrani is doing something completely unique with a theme named Sholo Kolaay Purno. Through this theme, the club is reviving the endangered art of working on Banana Tree Fibre. The entire pandal will be decked with adornments made out of Banana fibre, and the process of extracting fibre from the stems, and sculpting them into installations has been on for the past two years. Both last year’s and this year’s theme and idol has been conceptualised by Subrata Banerjee, and there will also be a theme song that exudes folk flavours from Bengal. The club will also make sure to attend to all visitors with a 2487 paramedic team present at the site at all times, and anyone falling sick will also get to avail privileges of an ambulance and immediate medical attention. Masks and sanitisers will also be kept handy at the pandal for people looking to maintain some extra precaution from the virus.
Santosh Mitra Square
Established in 1936, Santosh Mitra Square Sarbojanin Durgotsab Samity’s Durga Puja is one of the biggest in Kolkata till date. Last year the famed Durga Puja channelised the magnificence of Rajasthan’s renowned Birla Mandir in Jaipur. This year they are planning to surpass last year’s grandeur with a pandal replicating the iconic Red Fort in New Delhi. Due to COVID restrictions, Santosh Mitra Square has come up with online broadcasting options on their Facebook and YouTube pages, and will continue to do so this year for people who wish to skip the crowd yet soak in the grandeur of the famous Durga Puja. The pandal coincides with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations, commemorating the 75th year of Indian independence. The Santosh Mitra Square Durga Puja predates Indian Independence by 9 years.
Ekdalia Evergreen is popularly known for its traditional aesthetics both in terms of the pandal and the idol. While popular Durga Puja committees in Kolkata immerse in extraordinary themes and competition, Ekdalia Evergreen has stayed true to its roots. The pandal every year resembles some famous temples in India, and this year it will be made in reference to Rajasthan’s Saraswati Temple. The idol every year is constructed in reference to the description of Rudrani in ancient Hindu scriptures. Each of the idols, starting from Goddess Durga, to her children as well as the Asura are decked up in Benarasi adornments. Last year, Ekdalia, staying true to its temple theme, ventured down south to explore Dravidian aesthetics. Do not miss to capture the magnificent chandelier that stands as one of the main attractions in their pandal every year.
Ballygunge Cultural Association
Location: Jatin Das Road
Last year, Ballygunge Cultural Association celebrated the manifestation of feminine energy right from the inception of the universe, to this date through their theme Matrika- Adi Ebong Ananta. The entire pandal was decked in colourful Patachitras of goddesses, iconic women from the pages of history and the daily life of a modern woman. This year they wish to usher in a new beginning post pandemic through their theme Phire Esho Chaka- Ar Ek Arombher Jonnyo, and trace back the journey and the symbolism of a wheel since its inception. Just like a wheel keeps rotating through eras, pandemics, centuries, and time as a whole, the attempt is to welcome the cyclic better that comes after a period of gloom. The pandal will deck up in patachitras painted by local artisans from rural Rajasthan. The idol is being breathed life into by famed artist Sanatan Pal, while the pandal is being conceptualised by Rupak Basu.
Location: Manohar Pukur Road
Ever since the pandemic made the world come to a sudden halt, human kind as a whole has experienced loss in a different magnitude. Many lost their near and dear ones to the virus, while some renowned artists, authors and actors succumbed to age and left for their heavenly abode. Tridhara Akalbodhon or Tridhara Sammilani paid a homage to all the departed souls in 2021, while this year they have come together to bring a theme named Dour or “run” to fruition. The concept doesn’t reflect on the modern rat race, but on the contrary traces the trajectory or journey this universe has been a part of since its inception. The theme is the brainchild of artist Gouranga Kuila, and the theme song has been sung by musician Aneek Dhar this year. The pandal will see a host of stairs present to symbolise the ups and downs of life, while a giant clock controlling the movements of a doll will symbolise how humankind is a toy in the hands of time.