The organisers made several trips to Assam to source materials for Puja pandals and during one such trip they came to know about Majuli village, nearly 400 km from Guwahati. “Assam is a confluence of Shaiva, Shakti and Vaishnav sects of Hinduism. Cultural activities in Majuli village are being promoted by the Vasihnav sect,” said Raja Sarkar, who has conceptualised this year’s Puja along with Subodh Roy.
A team of 30 artisans from Navalgiri and Goalpara villages in Assam have been working for the last three months to recreate a temple that faintly resembles the famous Kamakhya temple of Assam.
The 70 feet structure is a riot of colours with splashes of red, green, yellow, brown, gold and black bamboo engravings, mats and artworks of cane. At least six types of bamboo, typical to Assam, are being used to create the pandal.
The idea to recreate Assam, said Sarkar, came due to practical reasons. “Over the last few years, rains have been spoiling Puja preparations. So, it made sense to use wood and bamboo, and the best theme was Assam,” said Sarkar.
“We have to first burnish the bamboos so that they last long. It is difficult, they tend to attract bugs,” said an artist.
Apart from aesthetic elements, the culture of Assam will come alive through live performances in the Puja pandal. Part of the entire structure is devoted to a workshop of the artisans where artisans will display their works throughout the Puja.
Moreover, artistes from various parts of Assam will perform Bihu, Assamese, Jumai and Rashlila dances and sing their traditional songs in a space devoted to them. In fact, the performances will be organised in a structure that resembles rang ghar, an integral part of royal structures in Assam. Six monks from the Shankardeb Ashram have also consented to be present at the Puja pandal. They are expected to preach about their sect and world peace through musical compositions, recitals and poetry.