Artists of Light in Chandannagar

 

 

Once a French colony, Chandannagar now is a thriving French language and cultural hub in eastern India. The town is known for it’s celebration of Jagadhatri Puja, ‘the Protector of the World’ who is an aspect of the Hindu goddess Durga, particularly worshipped in the West Bengal region of India. Jagaddhatri is depicted as being the colour of the morning sun, three-eyed and four-armed, holding a chakra, conch, bow and arrows, clothed in red, bright jewels and nagajangopaveeta (a serpent as the sacred thread), a symbol of yoga and the Brahman. She rides a lion standing on the dead Karindrasura, the Elephant Demon.

 

The beginning of this five-day festival in Chandannagar is still unchronicled but it is generally believed to have been introduced in the late 18th century by a local zamindar. When electricity came to Chandannagar experiments with lights began. The creative lighting was originally meant for decorating the festival’s venues, but has taken on a life of its own.

 

At the forefront of the innovative displays are artists like Kashinath Neogy. In 2005, Neogy took a tough decision to introduce LED lights, much to the criticism of his colleagues, to cut down on high power consumption. They preferred the age-old practice of using tiny bulbs that made up a single unit wrapped in colored paper by hand. He created a giant dragon with 180000 LED lights, 30 feet long and 12 feet high. Today, usage of LEDs is a standard practice for lighting artists at the festival.

 

 

source: tribuneindia, wikipedia