Durga Puja (the annual homecoming of the goddess Durga as she visits her parents’ home on earth) is a very special time in the city of Calcutta (now Kolkata). Apart from the usual festivities that are prevalent throughout, it is also a great time to see some amazing art installations in the form of “pandals” (pavilions) created to house the goddess.
According to the local authorities, there are over 3,000 such “pandals” all over the city and while it is physically impossible to see all of them during the course of the five days of the festival, I was fortunate to stumble upon a select few and was awed by the amazing display of art. Artists, architects and lighting designers from all over the country start planning six months ahead of the festival as each neighborhood tries to outdo the other by coming up with unique themes and concepts for the pandals.
It’s hard to believe that all this work (and resources) go into making the installations that are up for only a few days. Next year's festivities start on October 2nd until the 6th ... if you're visiting India in 2011, don't miss out!