Suruchi Sangha- A stunningly beautiful, ethereal Durga Idol with a roof lined with South Indian style oil lamps. The pandal itself was South Indian art themed, with 4 ornate bulls facing 4 directions
Banana themed Bosepukur Sitalamandir. The pandal was a large banana flower with ants walking across it, and the Idol one nestled within a flower. The roof and walls of the pandal were covered with beautiful idols made from banana fibre
My personal favourite- Hatibagan. The pandal has thousands of Origami birds hanging down its roof and walls, while the idol itself stood in the centre of intricately cut paper. Sigh!
Jagat Mukherjee Park- This pandal in Shyambazaar is made of stunningly intricate jute. Unfortunately I was unable to enter the pandal due to a stampede-like situation that was building up
Tridhara Sammilani – The pandal and idol made of jute and wood reminded me a little of Channapatna’s wooden toys
Tala Barowari- The most psychedelic pandal without a doubt. The pathway into the pandal was lined with metallic zombies with outstretched arms carrying anything from bananas to chameleons. Inside the pandal, there were hybrid creatures- half chicken, half dinosaur; half elephant, half whale. The idol though was serene and beautiful
Probably the most underrated pandal – Mitali. The theme was heavily centred around Madhubani art, and oh my how beautiful it was. Surprisingly, this pandal hasn’t featured on any of the “must visit” lists I read, but to me, it was the most tasteful and artistic pandal in the city
Mohammad Ali Park- The theme was of protecting and preserving nature and forests
The pandal in Kumartuli could pass off as a home- until you notice the large hands that emerge out of it. The interior reflects a royal room with rich Oil canvases and Trophy heads. The wooden idol, however, takes your breath away. It is breathtakingly beautiful with intricate painting and reminded me of South Indian temple idols. The idol is fittingly in the area of the artisans themselves- Kumartuli
A piece of Auroville in the middle of Kolkata- Babu Bagan. The idol within seems to be heavily Thai-inspired.
Deshapriya Park- The highlight of this year’s Puja is this 88 foot idol which saw a massive teaser campaign across the city for months leading to the Puja. This hype is what probably led to a stampede which tragically saw the park being shut to visitors before Puja even began.
Barisha Club- The pandal was made entirely of earthen pots, each one nestling a doll representing a different dance form. The idol itself reminded me of Govardhana Giri, although I am not sure if this was the intended effect
Chalta Bagan- The pandal was covered with upturned shells and seemed to be mimicking a sea creature. The idol was a beautiful white and mildly Thai-looking
Chetla Agrani- this pandal and idol seemed to come straight out of a graphic novel. The idol resembled an alien goddess while the pandal had a jelly-fish like quality to it. It was made of recycled materials like stadium seats, fans and tin barrels, each one nestling a raging bull within it
Ballygunge Cultural Association – lovely cut-out paper artwork that looked stunning in the dark. I will never get over the fact that I missed a Sarod performance by Amaan Ali Khan at the pandal. *cries*
This dark Durga idol at Kumartuli Park was a part of a large Nepal-themed park. The area featured a mechanical hovering helicopter carrying relief material, broken homes precariously hanging on to hills, the army carrying supplies and a Nepal-style temple sheltering the Durga Idol
Badamtala- Rajasthan theme with large Rajasthani dancers, painted pots, puppets hanging down the archway and Camels
Telangabagan- Honey bee and Sunflower theme
This pandal in Mukherjee lane was a Chinese themed one with possibly the cutest looking Durga idol I have seen. So cute that they decided that the lion should be smiling and heck, let’s just get rid of the demon altogether!
Kashi Bose Lane- Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, this pandal was baby-theme.
So after a point I had no idea where I was and was just following the crowds. And this is when I came by this sound-themed pandal. Lined with auto horns, loudspeaks of every hue- the Durga idol itself was nestled in the middle of what looked like a large woofer. If anyone can tell me the name of this Puja Pandal, I would be very grateful.
Kalighat- The Nataraj-themed Durga of a rich Bronze hue resided within a large dome of greenery.
Mudiali Sporting Club- This pandal was made to resemble underwater- gleaming mother-of-pearl lined the roof and walls and mermaids came tumbling down the roof. Beautiful Quilling paper was used to replicate waves and feathered wings
Tribal inspired Durga at Jodhpur Park
College Park Square
Moving down are Pandals and Durga Idols I simply cannot recall where from. All pandal hopping took place between 1 AM and 8 AM, by two individuals new to the city. If anyone can identify these locations, please do let me know