Friday, January 28, 2022

The 88 Feet Durga

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The 88 feet Durga idol in Deshapriya Park made its way in the Guinness book of world record.

They shut down the public display after stampedes occurred, and 11 people were injured. What was the motive behind creating a spectacle that nearly brought a huge section of the ‘city of joy’ to a standstill? 

Let us forget all the corporate interests and companies’ profit-making motives because they were not the only factors that drew hordes of people to view the idol once. It was most probably the fact that the meaning of this particular festival has changed over the years.

Glorious Durga Puja

Durga Puja is the most important festival(religious, cultural) for Bengalis, whether in Bengal or any part of the world. If one traces the origin and history of these pujas, then one would figure out that the pujas were restricted to the upper-class households in Bengal.

People from the entire village and nearby would flock up to the puja, pay their offerings to Maa Durga, and then attend the ceremonies. Earlier, Durga Pujas were the sole property of a powerful few. One would not have found Pujas outside of Bengal too. The Pujas no more belong to one section or class of society.

Maa Durga
By Bappa Pabitra/ Shutterstock

One can easily spot one or two pujas in every metropolitan city. Be it C.R Park in Delhi, Hiranandani in Mumbai or Koramangala in Bangalore. One offers prayers to Devi Durga but slowly and slowly develops into a competitive sphere where different groups compete.

They compete for the “Best Pandal,” “Best Idol,” “Best Lighting,” e.t.c. Every year, funds for these pujas keep growing, sponsorships support coming in large numbers, and the Puja becomes bigger and fancier every passing year.

This break-neck competition, most probably, is what led to the largest Durga Idol in history. And what better place to showcase it than the heart of Bengali culture?

Impressive Durga puja pandals

Durga Puja festival in Kolkata
By Rudra Narayan Mitra/ Shutterstock

The craze about all the big and fancy pandals in Kolkata is humongous. One has to wait for hours to gain access to these pandals. Interestingly, people do not mind waiting in lines and spending entire nights getting access to a couple of pandals. Waiting in lines is tiring, but Durga Puja pandals nearly have everything required to survive the night. From any beverage(discarding alcohol) to the tastiest of snacks and food.

Breathtaking 88 feet Durga idol

The 88 feet Durga idol has become an iconic example of the extent to which individuals are willing to go to prove their reverence to the Devi. Gone are the days when idols were only meant for prayer and worship. A race has begun.

One that is there to prove who can create the best spectacle. Idol worshiping in festivals like this is slowly banking more upon appearances than the feeling of respect behind the activity. Only six days of festivities and to see how eagerly people wait for this festival is all very astounding.

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