Durga Puja can rightfully be called a 10-day-long Carnival in Bengal. With giant pandals crafted magnificently to cities and towns being illuminated with the incandescent glow of lights, the spirit and the emotion attached to this festival is surreal. Kolkata has achieved recognition all over the world for the great pomp and show it puts up in welcoming Goddess Durga and her family, which is a conventional belief mentioned in the scriptures. North Bengal has complemented the state capital in celebrating the festival with equal grandeur, thus attracting a spurt of fanfare from different parts of the globe. With less than a hundred days remaining for the ultimate ceremony to begin, the spirit of the festival has already invoked unbounded enthusiasm among the Bengalis here in North Bengal.
Like every year, organisers of different pujas in North Bengal have enthralling ideas up their sleeves that may lend every worshipper a splendid experience. But what are the factors that work towards making Durga Puja in North Bengal a resounding success?
First and foremost, a considerable amount of accreditation needs to be given to the zest and willingness to work hard the people here are endowed with. In spite of weather uncertainties and heavy downpour every hour, various committees in Siliguri are presently toiling day and night to come up with ideas for the puja pandal to render a visual treat to the spectators.
About 10-15 well-known committees in Siliguri undertake a daunting task with a hefty budget amounting to lakhs of rupees in organizing Durga Puja at their localities. Some of the popular names that come up in this context are the Central Colony Durga Puja Committee, the Haiderpara Sporting Club Durga Puja Committee, Rathkhola Sporting Club, and Subrata Sangha, while there are a lot more. These committees have maintained a long streak of being decorated with trophies and have emerged as the finest of the lot year after year, not just in North Bengal but collectively among the entire state.
Also, there is willingness among all the core members of each committee to excel and strive for perfection, irrespective of external restraint. The Central Colony Durga Puja Committee was one of the firsts in the city to lay the first foundation (Khutti Puja) of their pandal, followed by plantation of saplings on an overcast Friday last week. Talking to the main heads behind the most successful Durga Puja of the Jalpaiguri District, it was understood that the Northeast Frontier Railway hasn’t been much cooperative this year in giving a nod to conducting the ceremony at the Railway Institute.
Nevertheless, the members are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to carrying forward the over 50-year-old legacy of their club.
“Our motive is to provide an excellent experience to the people here in Central Colony as well as the entire Siliguri. People have a lot of expectations from us and we cannot let them down,” says Debasish Sarkar, the Joint Secretary of the Central Colony Durga Puja Committee
Popular counterparts like the Champasari Jatiya Shakti Sangha and the Saktigarh Pathagarh clubs also observed an intimate ceremony to lay their respective foundations last Sunday. They looked promising with the ideation and theme of their Puja pandal. Haiderpara Sporting Club will mark their Golden Jubilee this year, and hence, they will be holding a team meeting very soon to carry forward their preparations for the same.
“This will be our 50th year and we will come up with an exceptionally well theme. We will make sure our Pujo remains unforgettable,” says the Secretary of the Haiderpara Sporting Club, Nirmal Kumar Paul.
Last but not the least, there is a massive emotional force that drives every soul of the city to indulge in the experience during the days of Durga Puja. The main days of Puja may only be for four days but the festivities last for the entire month. The enthusiasm among the public urges the committees and every single person behind conducting the occasion to work to the best of their abilities and celebrating the largest festival of the state in their highest spirits. In addition to their arrangements, every shopping mall or retail store comes forth with humongous discounts for customers to facilitate the routine practice of donning new outfits during the Pujas.
Everyone has their way of welcoming their Goddess Durga. A lot of things are yet to be unveiled and a lot of thrills is yet to unfold. One can only wait with bated breath before the fiesta marks its actual arrival in early October.