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74th Republic Day parade: West Bengal tableau showcases Durga Puja

New Delhi: West Bengal showcased the famous Durga Puja of Kolkata in its tableau at the 74th Republic Day celebrations in the national capital this year.
The most important and celebrated event in Bengal's festival calendar and one of the biggest annual extravaganzas in the world, the Durga Puja was inducted into the UN's prestigious Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2021. The theme for the tableau was 'Durga Puja in Kolkata: Inscribing Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO'.
The tableau also highlighted the state's rich rich tradition in art and culture.
Giving the Durga Puja the coveted heritage tag, UNESCO said it is an intangible cultural heritage of humanity and this tableau is an endeavour to celebrate and bring forth the unique distinction, so accorded.
The tractor part of the tableau was fronted with the model of 'Mang & Ghat' or 'Mangal Kalash' with the green coconut atop representing the beginning of the worship of the Mother Goddess.
The trailer section depicted an image of 'Thakur DaIan', built of pillars and arches with Bengal's terracotta-styled architectural design, along with the traditional Bengali Alpana, which is the exclusive designer floor painting craft of Bengal, on the floor.
On the trailer, the principal exhibit was the idol of the Mother Goddess in traditional 'Shola' or `Daker Saaj' -- a typical Bengali craft style associated with Durga Puja. Figurines of ubiquitous Dhakis and other live elements such as Pujaris; worshippers and others surrounded the idol.
The tableau was flanked on each side by women dhakis from West Bengal, who produced mesmeric beats in conventional Bengali attire.
In 2021, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed 'Durga Puja in Kolkata' on the 'Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity'.
Celebrated in Shukla Paksha in the month Ashwin on the Hindu calendar (September-October), Durga Puja is the major annual festival in West Bengal. It is also celebrated in other parts of India, especially among the Bengali diaspora.
The five-day festival marks the worship of Goddess Durga. Months before the festival, artisans at workshops in Kolkata shape idols of Goddess Durga and her children (Lakhsmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh) using unfired clay from the river bed of Ganga.
The festival marks its beginning on the day Mahalaya when the ritual of 'pran pratistha' is done by painting the eyes on the idol. Every day, the festival has its own significance and set of rituals. The celebrations culminate on the tenth day known as Vijaya Dashami when the idols are immersed in the river from where the clay was sourced.
The significance of Durga puja goes beyond religion and it is celebrated as the celebration of compassion, brotherhood, humanity, art and culture. Kolkata turns into a dazzling diva with the decoration of colourful lights. The sound of 'dhaak' reverberates across the city. From new clothes to delicious food, there remains a merry-go-round mood during these days.
Twenty three tableaux -- 17 from states and Union Territories and six from various Ministries and Departments, depicting the nation's rich cultural heritage, economic progress and strong internal and external security rolled down the Kartavya Path.
Droupadi Murmu led the nation on Thursday in celebrating the 74th Republic Day from the Kartavya Path.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the Chief Guest at the parade.
Building on last year's celebrations, in the 75th year of Independence, being celebrated as 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', the celebrations this year were marked by zeal, enthusiasm, patriotic fervour and 'Jan Bhagidari' as envisioned by Prime Minister Modi.
The week-long celebrations commenced on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. To mark the occasion, a one-of-a-kind military tattoo and tribal dance festival 'Aadi Shaurya - Parv Parakram Ka' was organised in New Delhi on January 23 and 24.
The events will culminate on January 30, which is to be observed as Martyrs' Day. (ANI)

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