In a captivating cultural coup, UNESCO has chosen to showcase the grandeur of Kolkata's renowned Durga Puja celebrations with a "Preview Show." This extraordinary event, slated to run from October 11 to 15, will unveil the hidden artistic gems of this iconic festival before its official commencement.
A total of 24 crowd-puller community Durga Pujas, along with two 'bonedi barir pujas' (household pujas), have been selected to participate in this prelude to West Bengal's largest festival. The UNESCO Preview Show, hosted at the Town Hall, will offer spectators a symbolic sneak peek into the mesmerizing pandals, awe-inspiring idols, and overall ornate decor that define Kolkata's Durga Puja.
This initiative comes on the heels of Kolkata's Durga Puja being granted the prestigious UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) designation in 2021. Organized in collaboration with the city-based social and cultural organization 'massArt,' as well as the British Council, this event is set to attract diplomats, tourists, and art enthusiasts from around the world.
Attendees at the preview show will be granted a special privilege: the opportunity to explore the actual pandals up close before they open to the public. The aim is to present Durga Puja as not just a festival but as the world's most significant art extravaganza. The Vice President of massArt, Sayantan Maitra, said, "Our goal is to promote Durga Puja as the largest art festival in the world since we believe this spectacle is one-of-a-kind."
Among the 24 chosen for this spotlight is the Kashi Bose Lane Puja Committee, whose General Secretary, Somen Dutta, expressed pride in the UNESCO recognition. Dutta emphasized their mission to showcase the unique heritage, culture, and aesthetics of Durga Puja in Kolkata and Bengal.
As the preview show unfolds, it promises to be a riveting journey into the heart of this cultural masterpiece, setting the stage for the eagerly awaited Durga Puja festival scheduled from October 20 to 24. Kolkata's Durga Puja continues to stand as a testament to the city's artistic prowess and cultural richness, now poised for a global audience to appreciate and celebrate.