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Photographer's Note

Durga Puja is celebrated more as a community festival, with each locality performing their own. Houses of erstwhile rich people & noblemen also perform the Puja in their stately often dilapidated homes, a testament of their once rich past. In Kolkata alone, about 3200 Pujas are performed, including about 2700 community Pujas in pandals. In recent times, the community Pujas has become an exposition of art, themes, d嶰or and grandeur, with each locality trying to make & exhibit their best and vie for the Best Puja tag and award. Art College graduates and eminent clay artists design and make the idols and the pandals using this opportunity to showcase their immense talent and imagination to a vast spectrum of audience the spectators, who throng the Puja pandals during this time. Kolkata has around 80 established or famous community Pujas, which are said to be must-sees for spectators. Over the last 30-40 years, many of these 80 odd Pujas and the pandals have become part & parcel of Puja tours of art hungry Bengalis. It is estimated that more than 150,000 visitors throng to each these famous Puja pandals during the six days, when the Pujas are thrown open to the public.

About this Image : This is one of the established and famous Pujas I mentioned above. I managed to beat the crowd as I went to see this Puja the day before it was to be opened to the public by managing to work my way inside....otherwise I could not have taken this picture given sea of people who visited this Puja from next day.

Imagine standing at the bottom of a 50 foot deep well...High up above your head lies a small slice of circular sky while youre surrounded by high circular walls. This pandal attempts to recreate this well and the baked clay circular tiles which are used for making actual water wells has been used here. And where there should have been water at the bottom of the well, is the idol of Durga resting inside a tunnel horizontally placed at 90 degrees to the vertical walls.

The concept itself is mind boggling & I came to know of this when I talked to one of the artists whose idea has been translated here as he was supervising the finishing touches to his creation. Wonderfully terracotta or baked clay items decorate the walls, specially brought in from the district of Bankura about 500 Km from Kolkata.

I liked the effect of the light inside the tunnel where Ma Durga is placed. The only light available for me to take this shot apart from the artificial light inside the tunnel was the skylight 50 feet above...not much for a handheld shot..but still I managed this..

Two Workshop photos: I have posted two photos in WS. You can see the pandal how it looks from outside in the first..Note that it is entirely built of burnt clay or terracotta. The other WS is a closeup of the superb image of Ma Durga.


Handheld.
ISO 200
F = 53 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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