One of the defining features of Durga Puja is that it is about inclusion – everyone is welcome to the community pujas to participate, from non - Bengalis to even atheists.
Taking this spirit of inclusion one step forward, Samaj Sebi Sangha which is in Ballygunge, Kolkata has dedicated their pandal to the visually impaired this year.
In the busy lanes leading up to Vivekananda Park in south Kolkata, it’s difficult to miss the bright yellow tactile path — usually seen at metro stations, but never at a pandal premise. However, at this pandal, it’s about making it easy for visually challenged people to enjoy the festivities with as much fervour as everyone else.
A special face of goddess Durga has been made using 22000 screws for them to touch and feel what others experience when they see an idol.
Although in most pandals, visitors are not allowed to touch art installations and artefacts – more often because the pandal committees fear vandalism — at this pandal, visually challenged devotees and visitors are treated to a different experience.
To ensure that the experience is as complete as possible, the organisers spoke to about 50 visually impaired students to get their inputs on their experiences on celebrating Durga Puja in a pandal and how they celebrate the festival. These inputs, in turn, have been made into a special audio presentation, which is being played at the pandal during the six days of the festival. Tollywood actor, Prasenjit Chatterjee has voiced this audio presentation.