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Consul General Zha Liyou attends IMPACT Sharad Ananda

From October 4th to 8th this year is the biggest festival in Est India: Durga Puja Festival. On October 3rd and 4th, at the invitation of IMPACT, a non-governmental organization in Kolkata, Consul General Zha Liyou and Deputy Consul General Yu Xiong attended IMPACT Sharad Ananda respectively to select best pandals.

During Durga Puja Festival, the top priority is to build pandals for Maa Durga. Consul General Zha and Deputy Consul General Yu visited 12 pandals altogether along with local celebrities and scored pandals based on factors like theme, lighting, decoration and safety facilities. It takes skilled craftsmen several months to build the pandal, mainly using environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo, cloth, paper, foam, etc., with different themes, shapes, colors and decorations. Some pandals resemble palaces, some are like pavilions and caves, but all are glittering and sparkling.

The goddess Durga and her four children are enshrined in the pandal. In the middle is goddess Durga whose mount is a lion (and occasionally a tiger and a dragon). The demon Ashura defeated by Maa Durga was under her feet. The four children are Ganesh, Lakshmi (also translated as "great auspicious god"), Sarassa (Saraswati, also translated as "Miaoyintian" "), and Kartik (Kartik or Kartikeya), who are the god of wealth, the goddess of wisdom, the goddess of literature and the god of war respectively with mice, owls, swans, peacocks being their mounts. The appearances of Maa Durga and her children are based on artists' imagination as some statues are delicately beautiful, while others are majestic and dignified, but all are vivid and lifelike, which fully reflect creativity of artists.

During Durga Puja Festival, the streets are full of festive atmosphere with flowers, colorful lights, sightseers, and vendors. Local people take a car, a motorcycle, a tricycle, or take a walk from a pandal to the next one, offering flowers and fruits to the goddess.

Impact Sharad Ananda lasted three days, and 40 judges selected top four pandals from 60 ones. Chinese Consulate would sponsor members of the winning Pandal Organizing Committees to visit Yunnan to enhance mutual understanding of people from China and India on each other's traditional festival culture.

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