Durga Puja 2020 in Kolkata: online cultural programmes, anjali & devi-darshan over social media

Durga Puja 2020 will be very different from what the festival has been known to the Bengalis for so long. With the fear of further spread of COVID-19, the West Bengal administration has imposed a set of restrictions on barowari  (or the publicly organised) Durga Puja committees in particular. Similar rules are also to be followed by housing complexes and those who organise puja in their homes.

Over, the idea is to have — in barowari pujas — open air pandals, sanitising mist tunnels, sanitization for visitors, on-screen idol worshipping – these are some of the measures organisers have taken in terms of safety. What are the puja committees – known as top draws in Kolkata – doing as precautionary measures for coronavirus?

Singhi Park Durga Puja

Located in Nandi Street, Dover Terrace, Ballygaunge, the pandal for this puja committee might be small in size for earlier years, but the organisers have always been innovative and creative. It is also one of the most visited pandals in south Kolkata. This time, the committee has decided to slash down its budget and create a separate special fund to be donated among those who have been affected adversely by the pandemic and the Amphan, and for other underprivileged children.

Interestingly, there won’t be the famous lights from Chandannagar illuminating the streets this year as the structures attract children and a lot of people from all over the city and from outside. They are planning to have a live cultural event and broadcast it on the digital media, including Facebook and Instagram. Their theme for this year is “renewed sense of joy of hope”.

Chetla Agrani

Located on Peary Mohan Roy Road, Chetla, this club is another crowd puller from south Kolkata. This year, the committee has decided to place the idols on an elevated platform so that the idols can be viewed from a distance. Chetla Agrani has also tied up with various news channels and social media pages which will be broadcasting their cultural events. For the pandal, there will be sanitizing spray frames and tunnels near the entrances, among the several other safety measures they are adopting this year.


95 Pally, Jodhpur Park Durga Puja

This is a famous crowd puller in south Kolkata. This year they are planning to organise a cultural programme on the digital platform. A committee member said that visitors won’t be allowed to step into the hall where the idols will be kept. “We will live-stream the puja proceedings on giant screens across a stretch of 1 km leading to our pandal and there will also be a tableau moving around the city with another idol.

College Square Sarbojonin Durgotsab

In the heart of College Street opposite the Calcutta University campus, College Square Sarbojonin Durgotsab by the lake is one of the top draws in Kolkata. The rituals, celebrations and festivities are rich and traditional, and one of the oldest Durga Pujas in Kolkata.

Bikash Mazumdar, General Secretary, said, “Our pandal is open from three sides and is by the side of a water body. Masks will be given to those who are not wearing it. People have to stand in queues to reach the pandal. We have made circular marks on the ground for people to step on them and maintain distance from each other. There will be police personnel to manage and control the crowd. I don’t think the pandals will be crowded this year in any case”.

Kashi Bose Lane Durga Puja Samity

One of the most renowned pujas and a top attraction among north Kolkata pujas, this is located opposite Khudiram College on Bidhan Sarani. Their “theme” is unique every year and creates a buzz around town. Somen Dutta, secretary of the puja committee said, “We have already made arrangements so that the pandal is open from three sides for better air flow, though it has affected our theme as the pandal is our canvas.”

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