Sundeep Bhutoria

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Chaltabagan Photo Exhibition

With P R Agarwal, Smita Bakshi, Suvaprasanna and Debasree Roy
Monday, September 3, 2012: This morning I went to Chaltabagan where the Manicktalla Chaltabagan Lohapatty Durga Puja is organised each year. I am the Chairman of this Puja Committee which today flagged off its 2012 Durga Puja preparations with the inauguration of - Down Chaltabagan Memory Lane - a unique photo exhibition of the past 10 years of Durga Pujas presented by Rupa Styles an inner-wear brand of Kolkata-based firm Rupa & Co.  
Actress, MLA and social activist Debasree Roy inaugurated the exhibition along with artist Suvaprasanna and Smita Bakshi, MLA, and Mr P R Agarwal, Chairman of Rupa & Co, and other dignitaries.
Visiting the `Down Chaltabagan Memory Lane' Photo Exhibition
With 2012 being the completion of the 69th year for Chaltabagan Puja, 69 photos of the past Durga Pujas organised by Chaltabagan have been put up at the exhibition. Each photo carries its own message and theme. Chaltabagan Durga Puja is not just a Puja Committee but more of a social welfare organisation.
From there on it has now grown to become one of the top five Pujas of Kolkata in terms of being a crowd-puller, novelty of pandal themes, eco-friendliness etc. The eminent citizens of Kolkata like the celebrities, governors, artistes, foreign consuls and other dignitaries and overseas guests visit the Chaltabagan Puja each year.
On one hand, the Chaltabagan Puja has been at the forefront of innovation with socially relevant eco-friendly themes like solar lighting, use of re-cycled waste, sustainable development etc. On the other hand it has introduced and popularised newer concepts like starting khuti puja, sindur khela and dhak mahotsav to enabling Bluetooth downloads of Maa Durga's images on visitor's phones.
The Chaltabagan Puja was started in 1943 as a small celebration in a shop by Late Shri Harilal Jaiswal, Late Shri Ram Prasad Jaiswal, Late Shri Sambhunath Pandey, Shri Harihar Jaiswal and the current President Shri Lakhichand Jaiswal. The location of the Puja site is also very symbolic as it is located near the residence of the great social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
Over the years the Puja has become bigger and better not only in grandeur and style but also in terms of social welfare activities. People from different communities and walks of life are actively involved in the Puja.
Over the years, Chaltabagan Puja has been in the limelight for its various themes and innovations which included replica of Badrinath Temple, Rath (chariot), Bajra (boat) Temple inspired from Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's Debi Choudhurani, pandal made of iron net (2008), paper (2009), glass (2011), use of solar power, CCTVs etc. The Puja Committee also arranges for wheelchairs for the elderly and physically disadvantaged during pujas and organises blood donation camps and other community services.
A khuti puja was also performed at early morning. With things in place for the time being, I shall be at peace when I fly out tomorrow to Dubai en route to New York and then to London for about a month.
ess bee

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