Durga Puja at Bishnupur in Guwahati: In quest of a record, in record time

A sudden storm during Vishwakarma Puja on September 17 led to tears in the eyes of many at the Bishnupur Durga Puja pandal in Guwahati. The puja committee was trying to create a record structure of Durga but the plans went haywire as the strong wind took away the half-built structure.

With a heavy heart, the artists who were working tirelessly, sought divine intervention and together with locals started remaking the structure – an aim to complete the record in a record time.

Deep Ahmed, one of the artists at the pandal, has been working since 5 years for the Bishnupur Pandal of Guwahati. After the heavy destruction of the pandal by the storm, local people – regardless of the religious belief, came together to reconstruct the structure.

Locals said that the field was a playground for the kids and they had to vacate the same to make way for the puja. But since the storm, even kids were seen helping in clearing the ground.

On the day of storm, the pandal was reconstructed till late in the night with the help from the locals. The puja committee said that they could recreate around 50 per cent of the structure that night itself – thanks to the forming of a great team.

At present, around 70 workers are working to recreate the structure. They are working on different tasks with the ultimate aim to create the magic structure by Durga Puja.

“The face, hand and arm part of the structure is complete and it has already reached 70 feet height. We are targeting to achieve 90 feet,” said Deep Ahmed who was seen guiding the workers on Wednesday. Asked about religious practices, Ahmed says, “I am a Muslim and a Hindu. Religion is personal choice. My wife is from South India. I am happy with what I and my family are doing. For an artist, it’s all about the ‘artistic skills’,” he added.

Deep’s father Nuruddin Ahmed, a devotee of ‘beauty’ and the main architect of several Durga Puja pandals said that he is proud of it.

“I’m an artiste. For me religion, caste, creed all these do not matter at all. I’m a worshiper of beauty and I’m happy if the people are happy with my creation,” Nuruddin Ahmed said.

At a time when claims and signs of religious intolerance hit headlines, the people of Bishnupur and specially the artists and the puja committee, kept the faith alive.

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Runjun is a mass communication student currently studying in Guwahati. She is from Dhemaji, Assam.