Kolkata: A popular Durga puja pandal in the city is busy giving finishing touches to a replica of a German town as part of its theme this year.
Along with Bengal's rich culture reflected in the 'sabeki' (traditional) style of puja, the life and culture of German town Rhedyt will find place in south Kolkata's Ekdalia Evergreen Club pandal, a consistent crowd-puller every year.
Noted German artist Gregor Schneider has created a replica of his hometown in a 'room-within-a-room' blending inextricably with Bengali culture, Gautam Mukherjee, the Club Secretary, said.
"There will be no dilution of the 'sabeki' style of the exterior of the puja pandal, but once you step inside, you will get to see how artisanship followed in the two different countries has been put to work," he said.
The puja, being patronised by West Bengal Public Health Engineering Minister, Subrata Mukherjee, was chosen by Schneider himself after visiting several pandals in the city last year.
Modelled on the German artist's famous 'Haus u r' (room-within-a-room) theme, this will be for the first time Germany will be associated with Durga Puja celebrations in such a way.
The pandal will be thrown open for public view on October 2 in the 60th year of Indo-German friendship.
"Once the Puja comes to an end in the first week of October, the installation will be taken away from here for being exhibited in Germany," Subrata Mukherjee said.
"Max Mueller Bhavan authorities had approached me earlier and that's how it came about," said the Minister, associated with the puja for a long time now.
"I am thrilled to be associated with Durga Puja, an inseparable part of culturally rich Bengal," Schneider said.
"Schneider trained the artisans in May. Thereafter, the puja committee and local decorators coordinated with him through mails and video conferencing and now he is happy with the way work is progressing, supervising it in the last phase," Gautam Mukherjee said.
The club collaborated with Goethe-Institute for the endeavour, he said.
The cost of construction of the German interiors in the pandal would be funded by Max Mueller Bhavan, said one of its officials.
A group of over 50 artists from Germany, representing various walks of art, will be at the pandal as the festive days roll out.
"We were initially not very sure as ours is a very traditional kind of puja, but Schneider's assurance that he would not interfere with the idol and the puja mandap helped put the club's fears at rest. And now we are happy with the way things are progressing," a puja committee member said.