February 27, 2019
State Govt pitches for UNESCO heritage tag for Durga Puja
Durga Puja in Kolkata – be it the traditional bonedi bari pujas or the community baroyari pujas – is world famous. For the former, it’s about the traditional practices and for the latter, about the grand pandals and lighting decorations. Best of all, perhaps, is the halo of festive fervour that envelops Kolkata during the four days and more, manifested in the sea of humanity that flows through the streets of the city.
To have international recognition for Kolkata’s Durga Puja, as an example of a unique cultural masterpiece, the Bangla Government made a presentation to a team from UNESCO to have the festival listed in the latter’s ‘List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.
The team had visited the city for two days beginning Thursday, January 21 to meet State Government representatives from across the country, and representatives of all South Asian countries, and seek preliminary applications from them about the tangible and intangible heritage of their respective States and countries. The meeting was hosted by the State Tourism Department.
It is relevant to mention here that Chief Minister was the primary inspiration for the presentation, having convinced the department to make a serious pitch to have the festival listed by UNESCO. She has been further enthused by the overwhelming response that the Durga Puja Carnival being held on Red Road over the last two years has received.
Besides Durga Puja, the Department made three other presentations for including places in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These applications were made earlier too, but this time with more preparation, almost guaranteeing listing.
There three are: Dalhousie in Kolkata, for the building heritage there; parts of north Kolkata (College Street to Sovabazar Rajbari), for distinct architectural features typical to the city’s heritage; and Bishnupur, for its ancient terracotta temples.
Source: The Times of India