India: Kolkata club builds Burj Khalifa pandal for Durga Puja

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Screengrab from a YouTube video
Screengrab from a YouTube video

Dubai - It was a structure that made the Bengali community in Dubai proud.


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Sun 10 Oct 2021, 5:56 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Oct 2021, 6:19 PM

A community in India has built their own ‘Burj Khalifa’ — but their version came in the form of a 145ft pandal.

The Sreebhumi Sporting Club of the Indian city of Kolkata created the structure in their Lake Town area. The incredible project came at a time when the Bengali community in Dubai and around the world were gearing up for the Durga Puja celebrations or the Sharad Utsav (Autumn Festival), which begins this week.

Around 6,000 acrylic sheets have been used to replicate the world’s tallest building as a pandal. It was a structure that made the Bengali expats in Dubai proud.

“This is a big attempt by Kolkata residents. It also feels like a tribute to the Bengali community living in Dubai,” said Sudip Saha, a resident of the emirate.

“My family and friends here have also been quite excited about this. I also did a live chat from the Burj Khalifa here for a television channel in India. This proves that we are already making global headlines. We are elated and we are proud. We are excited to showcase our heritage and culture whether in India or in Dubai,” Saha added.

Around 17 Durga Puja celebrations are taking place in the UAE — which will see expats dress their best, go on shopping sprees and enjoy delicacies throughout a 10-day festival period. The last five days of the festivities are considered the most significant.

Communities organising the celebrations in Dubai this year said Covid-19 safety measures would be strictly enforced.

Madhulika Chatterjee, another Bengali resident in the emirate, said: “Last year, our Bengali committee held cultural programmes online. This year, as the Covid-19 situation has improved remarkably, some programmes — like skits, songs, alpana painting and concordance (shonkordoni) — may be held in a socially distanced event. The number of people who will be allowed to attend such events will be limited.”

She added: “It’s the spirit of the festival that matters the most and we are particularly excited this year, as Dubai’s famous Burj Khalifa has been modelled as a pandal in Kolkata.”

The Sreebhumi Sporting Club brightened up the pandal with special lighting arrangements, giving it a grand look, especially at night. Around 250 workers built the structure in two months.

Speaking to news agency ANI, the club’s president Sujit Bose said: “Every year, we build the pandal in the form of a replica of iconic buildings. Earlier, we had built it on the theme of Paris Opera, Kedarnath and Puri temples among others.”

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