The 88 Feet Durga

The 88 feet Durga idol in Deshapriya Park made its way in the Guinness book of world record.
Public display was shut down after stampedes occurred and 11 people were injured.
What was the motive behind trying to create such a spectacle that nearly brought a huge section of the ‘city of joy’ to a standstill? Let us forget all the corporate interests and the profit-making motives of companies, because they were not the only factors that drew hordes of people to at least view the idol once. It was most probably the fact 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 they are in Bengal or in 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 other nearby ones would flock up to the puja, pay their offerings both to Maa Durga and the and attend the ceremonies. Earlier, Durga Pujas were the sole property of a powerful few.  One would not have found Pujas outside of Bengal too. Things have changed since then. The Pujas no more belong to one section or class of the society.

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. Durga puja is no more restricted to being a religious festival where one offers prayers to Devi Durga, but slowly and slowly developed into a competitive sphere where different groups compete amongst each other. “Best Pandal”, “Best Idol”, “Best Lighting” e.t.c. Every year, funds for these pujas keep growing, sponsorships keep 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

The craze about all the big and fancy pandals in Kolkata is humongous. One has to wait for hours in order to gain access to these pandals. Interestingly, people do not mind waiting in lines and spending entire nights just to get access to a couple of pandals. Waiting in lines is really tiring, but then Durga puja pandals nearly have everything required to survive the night. From any sort of 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 in order to prove their reverence to the Devi. Gone are the days when idols were only and 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 are slowly and slowly banking more upon appearances rather than the feeling or the respect behind the activity. Only six days of festivities and how much eagerly people wait for it every year.

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Krishtijeet Das