Durga Puja festival season of W.Bengal attracts Rs.40000 crore and creates jobs for three lakh people.

Kolkata Durga Puja, popular festival of West Bengal, India 

The Navaratri Hindu festival  dedicated to the goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati and Durga is being celebrated across India and two Indian cities are synonymous with this festival that champions woman power. In the heritage city of Mysore, Dasara is celebrated with great pomp and show and the participants include the Mysore royal family and the Karnataka government. Illumination galore on the final day so many social events take place that attract lots of tourists.  In West Bengal, in particular, Kolkata city Durga puja is celebrated with devotion and grandeur. It  has been  popular  for centuries. and the popularity goes by with the passage of time.  The Durga Puja industries  have ample scope in the future, but like other companies, they also face all kinds of problems. The state government should come forward and give them the needed help  to keep them alive in the competitive market.  They are the ones who safeguard our culture despite the odds.  

Durga Puja festival, Kolkata, India. .thehindu.com

Fun and frolic apart, Durga Puja in West Bengal is a gleaming  festival  for the vote bank politicians. Less known fact about  the Durga puja is  it was once patronized by the rich and famous people in the society. In the past few years, this festival   has become a money spinning one . Media reports mention about money transactions worth at least ₹40,000 crore in the season take place, providing job opportunities for more than 3 lakh people - right from installing pandals or shaminas, outer/interior decorations, festoons, etc., besides creating attractive Druga idols of various sizes, depending on the budgets. Involved in this spectacular festival that is part of the culture and ethos of West Bengal are   more than 40,000 community pujas across the state, including 3,000 in Kolkata alone.  The economic activities propped up by  various groups keep the people busy for three to four months covering  other festivals like Deepavali and Sankranthi till January. The organization called  Durgatsab (FFD) has links with 400 community pujas.

Durga Puja, Kolkata, WB. hindustantimes.com

Above image: A Hindu priest performs rituals before the idol of Goddess Durga at a community pandal, in Kolkata. Officials of committees organising big-budget Durga Puja pandals in the city make the exhibition an interesting one...................

 The Durga Puja in Kolkata was in December 2021 officially included  on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. UNESCO  listed massArt’s 2023 preview shows of Durga Puja art as part of its 20th anniversary may attract more visitors  Days before the Durga Puja festival begins in Kolkata, a preview show of Durga Puja Art starts at the iconic  Town Hall. 

The themes include many episodes, etc - from a traditional Chhau dance depicting Goddess Durga, her four children, and her battle with the demon, shola art and pat paintings used to decorate pandals were all part of an open air exhibition. Surprisingly, the Ambassadors of several countries were  invited at the inauguration  providing access to   26 Durga Puja locations in the city.  Visitors are allowed to visit the  pandals before the festival.

The old rich zamindary families keep up the  old 'zamindar bari' pujas, and are said to be torch bearers of traditional rituals and native culture. People also visit such decorative pandals which are known for their dazzling exhibition of Durga with her regalia. Lately,  the interest shown in being part of it among foreigners and domestic tourists has increased manifold.  

Media reports say lots of foreigners show great interest in such art exhibition, especially after UNESCO's  recognition of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2021. The state  report, published in September 2021, had estimated the economic worth of the creative industries around Durga Puja in West Bengal  was at Rs.32,377 crore. and the  cultural arts and convention is annually planed in other international cities.  "There is big demand from foreigners to visit Kolkata and other parts of Bengal,"

This kind of divine art form and the artisans are in a declining mode for various reasons and such native artforms need to be rejuvenated.  Preview exhibition of Durga Puja Art 2023 would provide an excellent opportunity for the new comers to explore and evince interest in them. The initiative, which began on October 11, would end on October 15, before the Durga Puja celebrations  begin.