Kolkata: Durga Puja pandal based on 'Vatican City' theme inaugurated
Durga Puja preparations are in full swing in Kolkata, and with an early inauguration this year, Lake Town, Bidhannagar's Sree Bhumi Sporting Club is ready to awe devotees with their pandal designed like the Vatican City's St. Peter's Basilica. While puja committees in the city are famous for their out-of-the-box ideas of innovative puja pandals, exploring the Vatican City must be a first.
Sree Bhumi Sporting Club enthralls pandal hoppers with unique themes every year. This year, they are celebrating their golden jubilee for hosting Durga Puja celebrations. West Bengal Fire and Emergency Services Minister and Sree Bhumi Sporting Club President Sujit Bose said, "Everyone has heard about Vatican City in Rome, but only a few lucky people have been able to see it by traveling abroad."
"Their wish to visit Vatican City will be fulfilled through our pandal this year," said Bose. "It took 60 days to make this pandal. More than 100 artisans have made this pandal together. Last year we made Burj Khalifa. All arrangements have been made for crowd management," Bose told ANI. In 2021, their pandal sported the design of the iconic Dubai skyscraper Burj Khalifa.
Last year, the Sree Bhumi Durga Puja pandal witnessed a huge rush of pandal hoppers, and the Bidhannagar Police had to stop visitors' entry to control the crowd. The move came the day when the number of COVID-19 cases moved past the 200 mark for the first time in four months Doctors blamed the irresponsible rush for the rising COVID-19 cases in the city.
The most hyped pandal in Kolkata became a center of controversy last year after the pilots of three planes complained to the air traffic control tower at the Kolkata airport that they were facing difficulty landing their aircrafts. The pandal, in the vicinity of the city airport, had put on a laser show which caused visibility problems for pilots during landing.
This year, Durga Puja starts on October 1. However, on September 22, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated three puja pandals including Sree Bhumi Sporting Club. It is the earliest inauguration in the club's history. They will reopen to visitors on September 26. Sree Bhumi's chief coordinator Dibyendu Kishor Goswami admitted that the rush for visiting the pandal has already started.
After the inauguration, Banerjee cautioned Bose and the event organizers against any untoward situation arising during the celebrations due to overcrowding. She requested them to ensure smooth traffic movement on VIP Road. "I have only one request to Sujit babu. Don't block the roads. I shouldn't hear that people had to miss their flight due to overcrowding or road blockade," she said.