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Durga Puja – for Bengalis this is much more than a festival. It is at this time that art, creativity & culture are whipped up to their frenzied & vibrant best, complimenting the religious fervour this festival generates.

Goddess Durga is worshipped as Ma or mother. She’s is accompanied by her four children- daughters Saraswati & Lakshmi and sons Ganesh & Kartik, as she comes down to her parental abode on earth, during the 10 days of the Durga Puja. The community celebration of Duga Puja lasts for 6 days rather than the entire 10 day period. Durga is worshipped as Mahishasuramardini or the slayer of demon Mahishasura, who disguised in the form of a buffalo (In Bengali – buffalo = Mahish, asura = demon) had terrorized the Gods. For the community Pujas, Ma Durga is housed inside a temporary abode called the Pandal during the days of the Durga Puja.

Durga Puja is celebrated more as a community festival, with each locality performing their own.

The Pandal – this is the temporary abode of Ma Durga. But in reality it is much more than that. Once upon a time they were made of simple bamboo scaffolding with metres of cloth draped around, but today this cannot be more different. The Pandal is built is all conceivable forms and structures…replicas of famous temples, parliament houses, mansions, forts…you name it and it’s there. The materials used in construction of these pandals are no longer the simple bamboo and cloth, but plywood, plaster, dried leaves, thermocol (packing materials) just to name a few. So intricate and elaborate are these structures that it is indeed sometimes difficult to figure out the Pandals and the real things. This involves hard work and a lot of dedication. The unfortunate part is the artist who designed and made these pandals are all but forgotten during the festivities, when the end product or the pandal itself gets all the attention. Nobody thinks or even remembers the hard sweat, toil and man-hours which had gone behind making of this creation and the artist’s name remains just as a name in a small signboard placed inside the pandal.

This picture inside one such pandal as it was being built, is my dedication to the people who create the works of art. Workers were painstakingly sticking dried leaves on the ceiling and other objects like this large drum, as a part of the décor, perched on scaffoldings, or on the floor. The idol of Durga, still not fully ready and decorated, can be seen in the background. I had taken this photo a day before the pandal and the idol was thrown open to the public. In fact I clicked a series of photographs here, all hand held in the light available.

I liked the silhouette effect of the man on the scaffolding in the FG and my effort was to create a framing between the man's arms and legs to show the face of Ma Durga. So I crouched low to take this shot..Hope you like it.

ISO 200
Focal length = 67 mm

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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