Durga Puja 2007, or the five day Durga Puja festival honouring the Goddess Durga, was celebrated with vigour from 2007-10-17 (ষষ্টী, shashthi) to 2007-10-21(দশমী, dashami), all over the lands where Bengalis and other Eastern Indian peoples live. As usual, Kolkata was the epicentre with a large number of pandals competing for attention.
Leading up to the Pujas, the matter of possible copyright violations by Pandal designers was highlighted when the publishers of Harry Potter in India, Penguin India, sued the FD Block puja committee in Salt Lake, Kolkata, over their pandal (marquee) which was designed to resemble the Hogwarts Castle. The suit claimed a fine of 25,000 pounds or 2 million Rupees but was eventually thrown out by Delhi High Court, subject to certain conditions.
On the second day of the Pujas, mahashaptami night, the pandal at pocket-40, Chittaranjan Park in Delhi was burnt to the ground around 4 a.m. on 2007-10-19. The fire originated from the kitchen area, and electrical short-circuit is a possible cause. There were no casualties.
Gallery of Pandal images 2007
Durga Puja pandal by Suruchi Sangha, in New Alipore, Kolkata, adopting the Gurjari handicraft style of Western Gujarat. This pandal, which has consistently won awards in the last few years, won the Asian Paints Sharad Shamman award for Creative Excellence in 2007 (see below). The high-roofed structure is modeled on the Bunga, a type of nearly-pyramidal structure usually balanced on pillars (in the Bhuj earthquake of 2001, not a single such structure had collapsed). The walls are made by mixing donkey dung with earth, and coloured with paints made by powdering a rock called Kamri found in Gujarat.
Image of Goddess Durga at the pandal by Suruchi Sangha, in New Alipore, Kolkata. The pandal is in the Gurjari handicraft / construction style of Western Gujarat, and this idol also reflects this theme in the earthy tones and vivid contrasts, and the stylized elongated shapes.
This Durga Puja pandal at College Square, Kolkata, is set on the large lake as foreground. The reflections off the water make the lit-up pandal an impressive sight at night.
Lighting around Durga Puja pandal at College Square, Kolkata. The focus is on a light-image of Eiffel Tower, Paris
This stylized Durga idol by artist Sanatan Dinda blended with a muted tantra theme at the Nalini Sarkar Street pandal, vaguely reminiscent of Mayan architecture. The idol shown here has one leg folded similar to the Nataraja pose, while casually spearing a insubstantial Mahishashura. The four subsidiary goddesses have been reduced to miniatures at her feet.
The traditional pandal at Ahiritolla (one of the centers of goddess craftsmanship) highlighted a traditional Hindu monastery architecture. The image also shows the crowds and traffic jams intent on visiting pandals at all hours - this is from half-past four in the morning, and that too on the day before the main five-day festival has started.
White and blue was the theme of the Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha Durga Puja pandal 2007, and blue ceramic pottery typical of Rajasthan was highlighted
The Bagbazar pandal, one of the oldest barowari pujas in Kolkata. This image of the famous Kolkata pandal reflects the shift from funding based on door-to-door subscription (sarbajanin= for everyone) to the creeping commercialization trend inherent in sponsorship of puja pandals.
A traditional one-pata pratima from Bagbazar. This rendering shows the goddess and her four children - Kartik, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Ganesha in the same frame. The chandeliers at the older pujas hark back to British times, and these pandals still employ a number of glass workers to fabricate the lighting in situ.
Image of Durga at Shreebhumi pandal, adjacent to Lake Town / VIP Road, with a faux metal look. Having the five idols separated is typical of most modern pandals, although the single structure (one-paT) design is popular in more traditional pujas.
The Durga Puja pandal at Muhammad Ali park in Kolkata is known for its social themes. The 2007 pandal is in the style of stepped gopuram as in the Madurai Meenakshi temple. Inside is a commentary on the role of women and female foeticide in modern Indian society. While women doctors, lawyers and engineers watch from the side (visible in enlarged image), a doctor is shown with a ultrasound report based on which a man in the middle is cutting open an woman's belly to abort a female child.