Exploring Patuapara – Kumortuli

Kolkatans do keep an emotional sense of their belongings. Many artefacts in Kolkata do help us to preserve our unique identity.

Kumortuli is one such unique example, an abode of idol makers located at SovaBazar in North Kolkata. It is traditionally a potter’s hub for more than three centuries. By virtue of their artistic productions these potters have moved from obscurity to prominence.

They are an independent international brand of Durga-Image makers. Kumortuli continues to remain an exclusive exporter of the idols of the goddess to different nooks and corners of the globe during Durga Puja to more than 90 countries.

About 450 studios in Kumortuli serve as both workplace and home. The potters who make these images are called ‘kumars’ and they often have the surname Pal or Paul.

This abode of idol makers not only supplies clay idol of Hindu God and Goddesses to Barowari Pujas in and around Kolkata, but also a number of idols are also exported carousing seven oceans.

Get to Know Kumortuli at a Glance

kumortuli-at-a-glanceImage Source – Krisnendu Sar

Location of workshops: Mostly located around Banamali Sarkar Street where languish air melts into a buzz of activity.

Typical Kumortuli Idol: The idol is made of bamboo and hay — the bamboo serving as the skeleton and hay the flesh.

Product Used: A skin of Entel Maati, a sticky variety of clay procured from the bed of the Hooghly.

Time Taken: Takes three weeks to transform into a strong clay and hay structure.

Kumar Parar Katha

kumor-para-kothaImage Source – Dibyendu Seal

Asiatic Society of Calcutta estimates that first formal “puja” of Durga was held around 1606 A.D. At present Baghbazar area in Kolkata by a zamindar Pran Krishna Halder. Four years later, Kumortuli’s “Kumars” started making the idols of “Maa” (mother goddess) Durga in clay for the neo-rich feudal lord Laxmikanta Roy Mazumder, who is the first patron of Kolkata’s potter’s town and initiator of “puja” of Durga in clay idols.

Idols Made

idol-made

All types of clay idols like Saraswati, Laxmi, Ganesh, Kartick, Kali, Viswakarma, Durga etc. Among this Durga idols are most famous and is estimated that 15000 idols are made every year and still increasing.

Future Plans

The Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) will implement the project JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission), 35 percent of its cost being borne by the central government, 15 percent by the state government, and the remaining 50 percent being arranged through loans.

KMDA will construct houses for artisans over five acres of land at Kumortuli on the ground-plus-three-floors pattern. It will also build an art gallery for artisans to display their creations.

A Glimpse of My Views

my-viewsImage Source – Mithun Basak

A visit to Kumortuli exhibits the curious faces and inquisitive whispers of foreign tourists as they make a beeline for the area. With Durga idols becoming increasingly popular across the globe, a visit to the Victoria Memorial and a view of the Howrah Bridge are not the only attractions for foreigners in Kolkata. Tourists from different countries — America, Australia, China, Canada, Japan and England — are eager to look around and observe idols immersed in the river turns to river clay in no time, and the same clay is brought to create idols each year.

The cycle of Creation never stops and renews itself; it transforms itself into a new form. My research will cultivate this rich culture of Kolkata to make it a little more popular to my readers.

Spice up Your Christmas The Kolkata Way

Kolkata, the city of joy celebrates Christmas merrily cutting across religious lines to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s not only Christians, but Bengalis, Chinese, Muslims and other religious castes who spend the final days of the year like one big family. All city churches and cathedrals are decorated with colorful festoons, paper stars, Christmas trees, twinkling lights and candles. Daylong prayers are performed in these churches starting from midnight on Christmas Eve. Cakes, cookies, wine and midnight masses at churches amid tight security from officials mark Christmas celebrations across West Bengal.

The city’s famous heritage location, Bow Barracks inhibited by mainly Anglo-Indians and Christians buzzes with huge number of activities that are people of all ages take part in and starts well ahead of Christmas. There are sports tournaments mainly cricket, football and hockey during the day followed by carnivals and music festivals in the evening that continue through late hours into the night. If it’s Christmas it has to be Bow Barracks. The various types of wines, the revelry, the enthusiasm and homemade cakes make Christmas celebrations matchless at Bow Barracks.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most significant spiritual arenas of Kolkata. It is a very serene and peaceful place and is very well preserved. The church has no chauvinism concerning caste or religion and is destined for people belonging to all spiritual faith. The Cathedral takes a celebratory look at the time of Christmas. Inhabitants in Kolkata congregate in this cathedral to celebrate the fiesta with great happiness and joy. The Christmas celebration here features Christmas carols throughout the day and serving people wine to celebrate the special day of the year.

Mother Teresa Sarani, formerly Park Street also known as “Food Street” and “The Street that Never Sleeps” is famous for its bustling night-spots and mansion-lined street that oozes a British era charm is also lit up and decorated magnificently. From colorful snow streamers, sparkling battery-operated stars, snow bells, dancing Santa, musical Christmas trees, foldable trees, wreaths and foldable decorative items and baubles, decor shops line up a host of ornaments add the extra glitz to Christmas.

Kolkata Christmas festival which is a State government initiative adds a beautiful charm to the Christmas celebrities in the city of joy. It features dances, musical performances by various renowned singers and musicians, Christmas carols, cooking competitions and most interestingly a vintage car rally which has become a huge hit over the years.

Apart from all these, various bakeries and confectionaries of the city have come up with new kinds of cakes and cookies. Most of the city hotels and restaurants include scrumptious turkey dishes and delicious cakes for the special occasion. Exchange of greetings and gifts, visits to relatives, games and sports among children and community feasts mark Christmas celebrations throughout the state. Large queues, comprising mostly kids are seen at the city zoo, Victoria Memorial Hall, the Indian Museum and other sight-seeing spots of the city. Some people organize daylong picnics too. Young couples throng various parks across the city to spend some time together.

Deepavali – The Festival of Lights

The festive season is not yet over. Followed by Durga Puja, another great festival “Diwali” – the festival of lights, is celebrated with great enthusiasm and in high spirit in Kolkata. Across the city, substantial number of puja pandals can be seen which implies that in the eye of Kolkatans, no festival is less important. The festival occurs on the fifteenth day of Kartika. Generally, the festival begins with Dhanteras, a day set aside to worship Lakshmi and Kuber. On this day new articles like gold and silver made jewelries and coins are bought. Beside this, some people prefers to buy utensils. The reason behind buying those articles is spiritual belief that if such articles are bought on this auspicious day, god and goddess will come along with it.

On the day of Kali Puja, houses and shops are decorated, lamps are lit and gifts are exchanged. Delicious food items and sweets are prepared. At this time, old business accounts are settled and new books are opened. Children burst crackers and get intoxicated by the different colorful lights the crackers emit. In some places functions are organized and celebrities are invited. Streams of song and music make the atmosphere pleasant.

There is a mythology associated with the festival. Rama after killing Ravana on Vijayadashmi, returned home along with wife Sita and younger brother Lakshmana after 14 years of exile. The people of Ayodhya were so excited that they illuminated the whole of kingdom with Deep (Lamps), so this festival is also called Deepavali. It is also the day when Shri Krishna killed Narakaasura—the demon of sorrow and hell.

Subho Deepavali BannerAbout Kolkata Team wishes all our visitors a happy, prosperous and healthy Diwali. May goddess fill the heart with the oil of love. Light it with the knowledge of truth and remove the darkness of ignorance around you.

Enjoy the festival whole heatedly and safely.

18th Kolkata International Film Festival

Kolkatans await for the next Kolkata International Film Festival since the end of the previous one and the intense hungriness to see the films enlisted in the festival could be seen during the 18th Kolkata International Film festival held at Netaji Indoor stadium. This year, the city has witnessed first time millennium star Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood Badshah Shahrukh Khan, Tollywood Mahaguru Mithun Chakraborty and glamorous queen Katrina kaif and Anushka Sharma sharing the same podium in presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Some of the Tollywood stars and actors like Madhabi Mukherjee, Sandhya Roy, Haradhan Bandyopadhya, Dipankar De, Ranjit Mallick were too present in the function. Tollywood heartthrobs Dev, Koel Mallick, Parambrata and Soham also shared the dais.

Mamata Banerjee conducted the grand show in her own unique style and trademark speech. “Bengal has the potential to turn into a home for international cinema. We can act as a bridge between Hollywood, Bollywood and Tollywood. Our government plans to set up three film cities in the state, it’s important to invest in the entertainment business for its now in focus”, she declared. Continue reading “18th Kolkata International Film Festival”