On Kali Puja, 75 Chinese 'Soldiers' Guard The Goddess In Kolkata

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West Bengal celebrated Kali Puja with pomp and fervour yesterday.


Kolkata:  While the country was getting ready for Diwali, Bengal celebrated Kali Puja with pomp and fervour yesterday. With the same zest as Durga Puja, Kolkata has neither run out of steam nor themes to celebrate the "shyama" or dark goddess.

Chinese lights and fire crackers may be out of favour this festive season, but not Chinese history.  A slice of it came to life at the Kali Puja pandal at BL Block Salt Lake, Kolkata - the terracotta soldiers of Xian. Almost exact replicas of the Chinese ones, 75 statues stood guard before Goddess Kali here.
 
"Kali symbolizes protection from evil. At Xian, the terracotta soldiers were buried with the Chinese emperor so they would protect his empire and him," Puja organizer Rajat Mandal said.

Traditionally, Kali idols are dark skinned. But innovation has made them golden, copper and deep blue. At Rabindra Sangha Kali Puja at Rajarhat, the theme was a tribute to women - to stop female foeticide.

"Women are being killed, unborn girls are being killed. Our Kali Puja theme is a protest against this," said the organizer Abhishek Roy.

"Our women got us medals this Olympic. We need more women to do well and make the country proud," his friend Ayan Sinha added.

The celebration of women continues on the walls around the goddess with the photos of women who got us Olympic medals, PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmarkar. Photos of Indira Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee were also displayed.


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