Kolkata pandal run by women turns out to be crowd-puller in debut year – The Indian Express

Kolkata News

The GLS Newtown Sharbojanin Durgotsav, a Durga Puja pandal (marquee) in Kolkata’s New Town Action Area-I neighbourhood, has turned out to be a crowd-puller in its debut year itself.

What makes the pandal stand out is the fact that it is managed, including conducting of the rituals, by an all-women team — that comprises volunteers and dhakis (drummers).

Also, this is the first community puja for an entire township. Till now, only block committees and housing societies used to organise their own pujas.

Urmila Sen, president of the puja committee, says, “This is the first all-women-run Durga Puja in the Newtown area. We are organising this to give a boost to tourism and culture. The theme of this year’s Puja is narishaktir jagaran (awakening of women power).

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Even Durga Puja pandals managed exclusively by women associations are hesitant to hire women priests at times. But the organisers of the New Town committee has roped in a team of six women priests who will perform all the rituals and offer prayers during four days of the puja. Even during the inauguration ceremony, 10 women from all over Bengal were felicitated as ‘Mahishasur Mordini’ (Slayer of demon Mahishasur).

“This is our first year of puja. Most of our volunteers are women who will be handling everything, including the crowd. Six women priests will take care of the puja part. We will have no male priests. We wanted to celebrate women empowerment, hence this is our theme,” said Sanjay Jana, assistant treasurer of the organising committee that has put up the pandal.

Adorned with vibrant paintings, the pandal showcases unique and beautiful artforms of Bengal. Also, string puppets, dokra figurines, wooden statuettes and clay models have been showcased at the pandal.

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The pandal has been put up on an area of 150ft by 150ft circle-shaped ground. It is wrapped with a red-bordered white sari, representing the theme ‘Banga janani’.

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/kolkata/kolkata-pandal-run-by-women-turns-out-to-be-crowd-puller-in-debut-year-8185021/