Bengalis have an affinity in their hearts for Durga Puja, the large celebration honouring the all-powerful goddess Durga. Kolkata, India’s cultural centre, is where Bengalis celebrate Durga Puja with the most zeal and splendour. This lively event has a long history, and a timeline shows how it developed into the magnificent show it is today.
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Historical Roots of Kolkata Durga Puja :
In Kolkata, Durga Puja has a long history that dates back to the late 16th century. The Malla monarchs of Bishnupur are credited with performing Bengal’s first Durga Puja ritual in the 16th century, according to historical records. However, the event in Kolkata didn’t start to take on its present-day appearance until the middle of the 18th century.
18th Century :
Bengal’s landlords, or “zamindars,” were crucial in boosting the festival’s popularity in the 18th century. In 1757, Raja Nabakrishna Deb of Shobhabazar Rajbari performed a public Durga Puja, which turned into the inspiration for today’s neighbourhood festivals.
19th Century :
The celebration gained prominence and importance during the 19th century. Numerous affluent households, social groups, and organizations started holding communal pujas. In Guptipara, the first “Sarbojanin” (community) Durga Puja was held in 1910.
20th Century :
The 20th century has been defined as an important period of growth and invention. The community of potters in Kumartuli, renowned for creating Durga statues, rose to prominence. Durga Puja evolved into a venue for artistic expression as pandal decorations became more inventive and artistic.
After India’s declaration of independence in 1947, Durga Puja took on a new meaning. After the state government realized its importance, it supported the festival, which raised community participation.
Durga Puja in Kolkata has become into a popular international event in the twenty-first century. Technology, lighting, and themes have all evolved into essential components of the festivities. Pandals for Durga Puja frequently portray social and cultural themes, blending tradition with current relevance.
Timeline of Important Events:
In 1757. Raja Nabakrishna Deb plans a public Durga Puja
1910: Guptipara hosts the first Sarbojanin Durga Puja.
1947: Following independence, the government starts sponsoring the event.
1985: Community Awards have significantly influenced the event.
2015 saw the creation of one of the tallest Durga idols ever, measuring 88 feet.
know more interesting facts Behind the Scenes: 10 Master Artisans Who Make Durga Puja Truly Magical!
In Kolkata today, Durga Puja is a huge cultural show as well as a religious event. With thousands of elaborately designed pandals, artistic idols, cultural performances, and an abundance of lights, colours, and creativity, the city is transformed. It draws visitors and tourists from all over the world who travel to Kolkata to see its rich cultural heritage and witness this magnificent exhibit.
Due to the competitive nature of these festivals, they have developed through time into a stage for brilliant artistic expression. The Kolkata Durga Puja Community Awards have established themselves as a notable initiative to honor and recognize the remarkable efforts of local puja committees in creating visually beautiful and thematically rich pandals.
Award Categories include:
Best Pandal Design: This category honours the exquisite artistic design of the pandals. The most inventive and aesthetically pleasing structures are produced by puja committees in competition.
Best Idol Artistry: An important consideration is the level of idol craftsmanship. This category recognizes the refinement and talent used in the idol-making process.
The best themes for Durga Puja pandals frequently represent societal issues, culture, or history. This prize honours the best thematic portrayal.
Lighting Innovation: The decor of pandals heavily relies on spectacular lighting. For the most creative and eye-catching use, prizes are given.
Durga Puja is more than just a holiday; it’s a symbol of the city’s creativity and persistent dedication to maintaining its history.