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This Durga Puja Pandal In Delhi Paid Tribute To Victims Of Paris Attacks

Honouring French people and their resilience.

14/10/2016 2:59 PM IST | Updated 14/10/2016 4:46 PM IST
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Courtesy Matri Mandir Puja Samity

NEW DELHI -- It was like travelling the 6,600 kilometres between Delhi and Paris in an instant. As soon as you stepped inside the Durga Puja pandal (a temporary structure) in south Delhi's Matri Mandir, you entered an alternate reality. The Hindu Goddess Durga, with her four children, glowered down at the Mahishasura she had just vanquished. Except she was in the 'Palais Garnier' or the National Opera House in Paris.

The local puja committee, known for its innovative pandal decoration every year during Durga Puja, decided to pay tribute to "French people and their resilience" as part of their golden jubilee celebrations this year, they said.

"At a time when the world is going through turmoil and fighting the menace of terrorism, we thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this year's Durga Puja to World Peace," said Debashis Saha, General Secretary of the Matri Mandir Durga Puja Samity.

Courtesy Matri Mandir Puja Samity

Following the series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November last year, where 130 people reportedly died, the local puja committee decided to dedicate their next Durga Puja pandal decorations to the French people.

"Despite these attacks to destabilize the western world, France has not been deterred and has quickly got back to normal sending a strong message all over the world that this wonderful world cannot be destroyed by a bunch of fools," said Saha.

To recreate parts of Paris in New Delhi, the two main entrances to the puja pandal were built in the manner of the famous Arc de Triomphe, which honours martyrs of the French Revolutionary and the Napoleonic Wars.

Courtesy Matri Mandir Puja Samity

The inside of the pandal was built to resemble the grand foyer of the 'Palais Garnier'. Frescoes fashioned in the art of French painter Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry lined the ceiling, classical sculptures stood against the walls, and ornate chandeliers hung from the domed ceiling. Elements from the opera's auditorium, like red velvet and gold leaf, were used for the walls of the pandal.

The entire process of building the structure took two months, said Saha, and they sourced local tent-makers and designers who copied designs from photos of the opera house.

Check out more pictures of the pandal below:

Courtesy Matri Mandir Puja Samity

Courtesy Matri Mandir Puja Samity

Courtesy Matri Mandir Puja Samity

Parinita Mehta

Parinita Mehta

Indrani Basu

Parinita Mehta

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