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Maa Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Maa Phire Elo

Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Durga Puja in Kolkata is often considered as the Greatest Carnival of Earth. The festivities of the four day long Durga Puja often extend over a week and turns the entire city into a temporary art gallery.

Panoramic view of the interior of the Ma Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Panoramic view of the interior of the Maa Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Hundreds of pujas are held all over the city and each is a virtual art gallery with elaborate design often following a theme. The theme can range anything from environmental conservation to women empowerment.

Entrance of the Ma Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Entrance of the Maa Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

The idol along with the pandal and the surrounding installation turns the entire area into a makeshift art gallery.

There are over 4000 Durga Pujas in Kolkata and visiting only the major big-budget pujas is an impossible task.

Many spent many a sleepless night pandal hopping covering only a small fraction of the major pujas of the city.

Although the festivities of the four day puja have been extended over a week but it is still impossible even for a hard core pandel hopper to cover all the major pujas of the city.

But the worst part is that after the puja the fascinating works of are simply torn apart to make the space free for daily public use. A year later the process starts begins again only to be demolished a week after completion.

Idol of Chetla Agrani Club (2017), Ma Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Idol of Chetla Agrani Club (2017), Maa Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

In the recent few years things have gone for a change and several of the idols or pandal installations have been reinstalled in hotel lobbies and luxury resort premises.

Tower like structure, Ma Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Tower like structure, Maa Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Some have even made their way in public places like metro stations and public parks, thus providing access to the general public.

The number of these private and public places were far below requirement and a common place was required to house the idols and installations.

So the city was in very much in need of a Durga Museum, where some of the major idols and pandel installations could be reinstalled in a landscaped setting.

With new exhibits coming in every year the museum can follow a rotating policy of exhibits, with exhibits changing every year.

Steam engine like structure, Ma Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Steam engine like structure, Maa Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Finally, in 2012 the city got its first Durga Museum which came to be officially known as Maa Phire Elo (মা ফিরে এলো), literally meaning the Return of the Mother.

The Durga Museum is housed at the Rabindra Sarobar complex and is located at the southern side of the lake (Google map location). It is based approach from the Gate No. 2 (Rail Gate)

The museum is separated from the main Rabindra Sarobar complex by a waist high wall decorated with panels.

Sadly the panels are made of molds and lack the grace and beauty of those of Terracotta Temples. the entrance gateway is flanked with two huge decorated terracotta lamps complete with flame.

Unmarked Durga idlo at Ma Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Unmarked Durga idlo at Maa Phire Elo, Durga Museum, Rabindra Sarobar

Straight ahead is a tower like structure with the words Maa Phire Elo (মা ফিরে এলো) written on it. But nothing is mentioned about the origin of the structure and its Durga Puja connect. Next to the tower is a model of a steam engine and again no Durga Puja connect is mentioned.

Terracotta ornamentation on gallery wall

Immediately left of the entrance is a Durga Idol which was part of Chetla Agrani Club in 2017. It is housed under a open shed supported by pillars with terracotta ornamentation. Behind the steam engine model is another similar shed with an unmarked idol.

Durga Idols exhibited inside the gallery

On the right side of the idol is a gallery, whose outer and inner walls are decorated with terracotta panels and statues. The gallery houses six idols of some of the well known Durga Pujas of the city.

Although the Maa Phire Elo (মা ফিরে এলো) Durga Museum is a great initiative but it needs more maintenance. Many of the exhibits have no boards and the museum needs to be updated with new exhibits.

Note:

  • The article is based on visits during February 2021
  • There is no entry fee
  • Photography is allowed
  • The Durga Museum Maa Phire Elo (মা ফিরে এলো) is housed inside the Rabindra Sarobar complex

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