In a first in India, the West Bengal government on Wednesday named 75 puja committees in the state that will be awarded the Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman awards. The awards will be given away to deserving committees, including those from outside Kolkata, for best idol, best pandal, best illumination work, best concept and other categories.
West Bengal is the first state to initiate the 'Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman' - awards to honour organisers of the four-day Hindu festival.
Millions of visitors throng the puja pandals beautifully decorated with embellished dieties and other intricate decor in the state every year, Minister of State for Information and Cultural Affairs Indranil Sen said on Monday.
Some of the puja pandals in Kolkata that draw maximum visitors include Sarbojonin and Ekdalia Evergreen.
The Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman award categories:
Best Sabeki category: Sarbojonin and Ekdalia Evergreen committees would be honoured with the 'best sabeki' award for retaining traditions (sabeki) in their puja celebrations and conventional idols over the decades.
Best Pandal category: Nine puja pandals in the city, including Babu Bagan, Jodhpur Park Sarbojonin, Mohammed Ali Park, would be conferred the award.
Best Durga puja idol category: Ten puja committees were named as awardees in the best Durga puja idol category. Some of the recipients of the award in this category included Kalighat Milan Sangha, Badamtala Asar Sangha, Kumartuli Sarbojonin, Tala Pratay, Salt lake F D Block.
Best illumination category: Hindustan Club Sarbojonin, College Square, 64 Palli, Shimla Bayam Samity, Khidderpore 25 Pally and Maniktala Chaltabagan in the city among others are named.
Best concept (idea) category: The government has named 12 puja pandals in the city, including Samajsebi, Chorbagan, Hatibagan Sarbojonin, 75Palli Bhawanipore, for the award.
Other categories include best discovery, best theme song, best branding, best environment-friendly puja,best dhakeswari (using traditional drum - 'dhak' - topep up the frenzy).
After the almost week-long puja festival celebration, the 75 'Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman' winners will take part in the Red Road Immersion Carnival on October 23 which will be attended by foreign dignitaries apart from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, state ministers and other leading personalities.
(With inputs from agencies)