Maa Eshe Geche (Ma has arrived).
The wait is over for the millions of devotees who look forward to the festival of Navratri spanning nine days. The fervour and excitement that one feels upon entering a pujo pandal cannot be described in words – it’s an experience. Each committee goes to great lengths to ensure that their pandal is unique and attracts the maximum footfall. This year, in a move that will certainly leave the environment happy – committees across the country have resorted to adopting eco-friendly measures in setting up and celebrating this festival.
Here is a great accessory for your Diwali look. This handmade Dokra Durga pendant with its traditional elegance will garner you more compliments than you can take.
Here is a look at some of the innovative green pandals across the country.
The Kashmere Gate Durga Puja is one of the oldest and considered to be a traditional one. Given that the Pollution Control Board has prohibited the immersion of the idol into the Yamuna, the organising committee has created an artificial pond in Burari, 10 km away from their pandal for their 15-ft idol. To ensure that the bhog that is served is also done in an eco-concious manner, they have switched to bowls made of leaves, in place of thermocol ones.
The pandal at Chittaranjan Park, also extremely famous in the national capital, will immerse the idol of the goddess within their premises in a 20 x 8 ft pit. According to this report, the Durga Puja pandal by the Indraprastha Matri Mandir Nirman Society at Aradhana Park in IP Extension has gone further and used recycled items sourced from junkyards and scrap dealers. With gas cylinders for heads and steel scrap for bodies, the idols are decorated with used bulbs and soft drink cans.
In Gurugram, at the Sushant Lok pandal, celebrating its 20th year, women have decided to take charge of all the preparations. In an attempt to reduce their carbon footprint, the women have resorted to using cycles while stepping out to procure all things needed for the pandal.
A rough estimate suggests that there are currently about 2,652 Durga Pujas in Kolkata. A city, which celebrates Durga Puja with immense joy, has also taken into consideration the strain that a celebration of such proportions can have on the environment.
According to this report, at Khidderpore 25 Palli, on the western fringes of the city, around 5 lakh plastic bottles are being used to embellish the pandal and generate awareness on global warming.
Debashish Kumar one of the key organisers of the Tridhara Sammilani, a big-ticket Durga Puja in South Kolkata, claims to have shunned plastic. “The entire arena of our Puja is a plastic free zone. We take this very seriously. Apart from working with KMC for waste management, we also take extra care to ensure that our festival does not flout any green norm.”
The Maddox Square Puja Committee will be using sal leaves and earthern glasses during the bhog distribution.
With around 42 committees organising Durga Puja across the city, the Central Puja Committee (CPC) has issued strict guidelines that each committee must adhere to.
Some of the highlights are:
• Abstain from using plastic in any form
• No chemical paints to be used on the idol
• Eco-friendly decorating items to be used
• Use energy-saving lighting
• Depositing all flexes which can be recycled and reused
While the artists at the Nayapalli Durga puja committee in Bhubhaneshwar found the idea of ditching the plastic challenging to begin with, they have substituted it with inedible wild fruits from forests to design the pandal. They are also using other biodegradable items like sea shells and conches to build a replica of Rajasthan’s Padmavat Palace.
According to this report, Narayan Mohapatra, who is also a member of the Shaheed Nagar Durga Puja committee, said that they will be taking every possible step for a plastic-free country.
“We will not use plastic flowers for decoration. If devotees come up with plastic bags for prasad, we will be dumping those in the eco-friendly dustbins that have been installed in the pandal. Also, we will be serving prasad in plates made of leaves and bamboo.”
Rajendra Singh, President OCC Club & Puja Committee, according to this report, said, “There will be no use of plastic in and around the pandal premises. Special attention is being paid to ensure that the entire ground is clean at all times and nothing is littered. Separate dustbins will also be placed for dry and wet waste. Even the food stall owners will be urged to make minimum use of plastic and instead opt for paper plates and cups.”
Bamboo, coconut rope, and hay are the primary materials being used this year. In order to ensure that the garbage doesn’t mount up at the pandals, a garbage collection van will be doing the rounds every few hours.
In the spirit of everything around us going green, the pandals in the country have outshone themselves too. Here’s hoping that all festivals and huge celebrations go plastic-free too.
If you have visited a pandal that you are particularly impressed by, do write to us.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)