Asian Paints Sharad Shamman
Asian Paints Sharad Shamman
Awarded for Excellence in artistic achievements
Presented by Asian Paints
Country India
West Bengal
First awarded October 1985
Official Website

Asian Paints Sharad Shamman is an excellence award given to the best decorated Durga Puja Pandal in Kolkata during the festival in October. Since its inception in 1985, Asian Paints Sharad Shamman has been heralded as the true achievement for excellence in decorating the abodes for Goddess Durga. As time has progressed there have been numerous awards being given by many other companies for creative excellence, but still Asian Paints Sharad Shamman is considered the most important award and the rightful judgement for excellence. It is a trend setter for all the later awards.[1]

About the Award

"Asian Paints Sharad Shamman" was started in 1985 as a means for awarding the best decorated puja pandal during Durga Puja in Kolkata. Sharad means "the Goddess" and Shamman means "Award", and was sponsored by Asian Paints, hence the name Asian Paints Sharad Shamman. Out of about 3000 puja pandals in Kolkata, few get shortlisted and among them six are given the awards.[2][3][4]

Award Categories

Total six awards are given to six puja pandals. When Sharad Shamman started in 1985 only three awards were given to three Best Puja pandals. From 1994 a special award called "Discovery of the Year" was introduced to honour a completely unknown pandal for its excellence. This 4 categories were continued for the next six years. But in 2000 Asian Paints felt the awards were too similar, there was no demarcation to identify Best Decoration of the pandal or the Best looking Idol. Hence in 2000 two new categories were introduced - "Creative Excellence", which focussed on the Best decorated Pandal, and "Best Artisan", given to the artist of the Best looking Idol. At present these six categories represent Asian Paints Sharad Shamman. Some of the parameters for awarding the pandals include the overall beauty and grandeur of a pandal based on a chosen theme, the beauty of the Durga protima, how well the sanctum of the protima has been shown, and the finesse in the work done on the pandal.[5]

Best Puja (Shrestho Pujo)

years active (1985 - present)

5429g suruchi-pratima

New Alipore Suruchi Sangha which won Best Puja in 2003 and Creative Excellence in 2007

This award was the first award given when APSS started in 1985. Three puja pandals are selected based on everything, i.e., Decorative excellence, best looking idol, ambiance, lighting etc. No demarcations are there like winner, first runner-up: instead all three pujas are considered to be the Best Puja. Normally winners in these category used to be the well-known Pujas, but nowadays many unknown Pujas have cropped up with the technical excellence to bag this award. At present, Durga Pujas in Kolkata are more theme oriented. Some specific theme like Madhubani art or earthen cups or a place like Kerala, will be the base for the decoration. In 2001, "Bosepukur Sitalamandir" decorated its pandal completely of earthen cups and was so popular that it won the Best Puja award hands down. There have been many Pujas which has won this award many times. "Adi Ballygunge" leads the list with five wins. A puja, once been declared a winner in this list cannot be declared in the "Discovery of the Year" award though it can win "Creative Excellence" or "Best Artisan" award.

Discovery of the Year (Bochorer Bismoy)

years active (1994 - present)
Discovery of the Year was first introduced in 1994 as a means to introduce a previously unknown and undiscovered Puja Pandal. Many unknown Pujas have cropped up on this list which are extremely popular in Kolkata. Notable among them are Barisha Sahajatri, Karbagan, Shivmandir Sarbojanin etc. Laketown Netaji Sporting Club modeled their pandal totally on a village situated on a hill and won this award in 2003. It has also happened many times that a Puja Pandal has already been popular in Kolkata in the previous year, but wins the "Discovery" award next year. In that case logically that is not a "Discovery of the Year". A Puja, once winning this title, can't win it again.

Creative Excellence (Nobbo Nakshi)

years active (2000 - present)
Started in 2000, Creative Excellence or Nobbo Nakshi in Bengali, is given as a means to felicitate the pandal with the best decoration. Pandals which has won the "Best Puja" and the "Discovery of the Year" can also win this award. "Darpanarayan Tagore Street" decorated their pandal entirely out of cowdung, which won them the first "Creative Excellence" award in 2000. Puja clubs can win this award anytime irrespective of whether they are a previously unknown puja or a famous one. Judges look for the intricacies and the details woven into creating the concept truly, and depicting them with technical brilliance.

Best Artisan (Shrestho Protimashilpi)

years active (2000 - present)
Introduced in 2000, Best Artisan award is given to the maker of the Best Idol. Judges look for beauty, peace, strength, prowess in the idol and how good the idol can blend with the theme for the puja. Notable among the winners are Sanatan Dinda who has won 3 Best Artisan award, one for "Hatibagan Sarbojanin" in 2000 and two for "Nalin Sarkar Street" in 2004 and 2006, Shri Pradip Rudra Paul who won 2 awards for "Behala Adarshapally" and Shri Purnendu Dey who won two awards, one for "Chakraberia Sarbojanin" in 2007 and for "Barisha Club" in 2008. Behala Adarshapally won both the categories of Best Puja and Best Artisan in 2005.

The Award

The statuette given for Asian Paints Sharad Shamman looks like a conch shell. It is a small silver structure(previously gold) which is situated on a pedestal. This is enclosed in a glass box and handed over to the winners along with a cheque. Variations include for the statuette for "Creative Excellence" award. This includes a statue of an earthen pot with the traditional coconut and mango leaves on it. This is also made of silver.[6]

Asian Paints Logo and slogan

For Asian Paints Sharad Shamman, a logo of a young boy playing the dhak(drum) is shown. Also among the logos are a face of Maa Durga in monochrome line drawing, little kids playing with balloons etc.

The slogan for the award is "Shuddha suchi, sustha ruchi'r sera bachai" which means "The best from the artistically efficient and culturally significant", as described by the late poet Shri Subhash Mukhopadhay. From that point this has been the main slogan for the award.

Judges and judgement

The judges for the award are chosen from a who's who of the Begali Literati and include artists, art critics, writers, actors, politicians, models, singers, poets etc. Notable among those chosen over the years are artist Shuvaprasanna, actors Sabyasachi, Moon Moon Sen, magician P.C. Sorcar, vocalist Bratati etc. Puja pandals are requested to submit their application by the 3rd day of the Puja. The judges go around the town on the fifth and sixth day and visit all the different Puja pandals. On the seventh day 12 finalists are short-listed and their names are declared. Finally, on the evening of the eighth day, the winners in the different categories are declared and are handed over with their trophies.[7]

List of winners

The following is the list of winners for Asian Paints Sharad Shamman from the past 23 years.[8]

YearBest PujaDiscovery of the YearCreative ExcellenceBest Artisan
1985 Jodhpur Park
Adi Ballygunge
Maddox Square
1986 College Square
Adi Ballygunge
Bagbazar Sarbojanin
1987 College Square
Vivekananda Sporting Club
Adi Ballugunge
1988 Beliaghata Sarir Sangathon
Adi Ballygunge
1989 Babubagan
Shimla Byam Samiti
1990 Babubagan
Falguni Sangha
1991 Kashi Bose Lane
Bagbazar Sarbojanin
Maddox Square
1992 Mudiali
Yuba Brinda
1993 Adi Ballygunge
Yuba Brinda
Kashi Bose Lane
1994 Nabapally
Telengabagan Sarbojanin
Rammohan Sammilani NA NA
1995 Telengabagan Sarbojanin
Kumartuli Park
Ballygunge 21 Pally NA NA
1996 Sovabazar Beniatola
Rammohan Sammilani
Kalighat Yuva Maitri NA NA
1997 Ahiritola
Chaltabagan Lohapatty
Hatibagan Sarbojanin
Karbagan NA NA
1998 Karbagan
Bosepukur Sitalamandir
Laketown Adhibashibrindo
Barisha Sahajatri NA NA
1999 Sovabazar Beniatola
Barisha Tapobon
Shivmandir Sarbojanin NA NA
2000 Behala Adarshapally
Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha
Kankurgachi Nabadai Pally Mangal Samity
Pathuriaghata 5er Pally Karbagan Hatibagan Sarbojanin
Shri Sanatan Dinda
2001 Bosepukur Sitalamandir
Laketown Adhibashibrindo
Behala Shrishti
Kankurgachi Youngster Darpanarayan Tagore Street Brindaban Matrimandir
Shri Upendranath Pal
2002 Darpanarayan Tagore Street
Haridevpur Ajeya Sanghati
Selimpur Pally
Barisha Shakti Sangha Shyamapally Shyama Sangha Chaltabagan Lohapatty
Shri Nepal Pal & Shri Gouranga Pal
2003 New Alipore Suruchi Sangha
Haridevpur Ajeya Sanghati
Nimtola Ghat Street Sarbojanin
Laketown Netaji Sporting Club Khidderpore Pally Sharadiya Behala Adarshapally
Shri Pradip Rudra Pal
2004[9] Behala Shrishti
Barisha Yubakbrindo
Behala Club
Salt Lake BE Block East Pathuriaghata 5er Pally Nalin Sarkar Street
Shri Sanatan Dinda
2005[10] Behala Adarshapally
Shivmandir Sarbojanin
Behala Club
Swapnar Bagan Yubobrindo Naktolla Udayan Sangha Behala Adarshapally
Shri Pradip Rudra Pal
2006[11] Haridevpur 41 Pally
Bosepukur Talbagan
Laketown Natunpally Pradip Sangha
Jawpur Bayam Samity Haridevpur Ajeya Sanghati Nalin Sarkar Street
Shri Sanatan Dinda
2007[12] Khidderpore 25 Pally
Pathuriaghata 5er Pally
Laketown Natunpally Pradip Sangha
Kankurgachi Mitali Sangha New Alipore Suruchi Sangha Chakraberia Sarbojanin
Shri Purnendu Dey
2008[13] Telengabagan Sarbojanin
Tangra Gholpara Sarbojanin
Laketown Natunpally Pradip Sangha
Santoshpur Lakepally
Hatibagan Nabinpally
Naktolla Udayan Sangha Barisha Club
Shri Purnendu Dey
2009[14] Khidderpore Pally Sharadiya
Dum Dum Park Bharat Chakra
New Alipore Suruchi Sangha
LalaBagan Nabankur Sangha Rajdanga Nabodoi SanghaSantoshpur Lakepally
Shri Sunil Pal

Most wins:
The collective most wins are by the following Pujas:

  • Adi Ballygunge(5)
  • Mudiali(4)
  • Barisha Club(4) *
  • Behala Adarshapally(4)
  • Sunilnagar(3)
  • Telengabagan Sarbojanin(3)
  • Haridevpur Ajeya Sanghati(3)
  • Pathuriaghata 5er Pally(3)
  • Karbagan(3)
  • Laketown Natunpally Pradip Sangha(3)
  • New Alipore Suruchi Sangha(3)

Among the artisans Sanatan Dinda leads with three wins, one for Hatibagan Sarbojanin and two for Nalin Sarkar Street.

  • Barisha Club's collective win is 4. This club is a merge of the former clubs Shrishti and Sahajatri. Sahajatri won 1 award in 1998 and Shrishti won 2 award in 2001 and 2004. Hence together with these awards and the award for 2008, their collective win is 4.


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