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    Head To This Former French Colony And See Where All The Lights For Durga Pujo Are Created

    Anuradha posted on 20 July

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    You, like most people, may know of Chandannagar as an erstwhile French colony – traces of that era can be seen in the town’s riverside promenade {the Strand}, the Indo-French Museum, and the French language school located in the Dupleix House. But did you know that Chandannagar is also the city of lights?

    What Is It?

    Chandannagar has an entire industry devoted to decorative lighting. The light makers here are famous for the intricate installations they create for festivals in Bengal. All those colourful illuminated panels that adorn the streets of Kolkata during Durga Puja? They come from Chandannagar. In the photo above, you can see the  Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, posing with a light installation in London.

    Why Should I Go There?

    You will see artists at work, stitching thousands of multi-coloured bulbs on wire frames, creating a magical tableau of images. The finished frames take on the form of moving vehicles, animals, fire-spitting dragons, waterfalls, monkey gods, various celebrities, and even Nobel prize winners! Chandannagar’s artists and their creations have travelled around the world. Perhaps the light installation that made the biggest splash was a giant peacock barge which formed the centerpiece at the 2003 Thames Festival in London. The brilliantly lit, 3-D peacock-shaped boat made quite a sight sailing down the Thames. It was huge – 7 mts X 4mts X 5 mts – and used around 130,000 micro bulbs!

    How Do I Get There?

    Chandannagar is about an hour and a half from Kolkata. You can take a train from Howrah – several local trains and state-bound ones halt here. The other option is to take a ferry from Kolkata or Belur. Or hire a cab from Kolkata – they’ll charge about INR 2,000 for a return trip.

    Anything Else?

    You should visit the town before Durga Puja if you want to see how the installations take shape. Find out more about light makers on art curator Nandita Palchoudhuri’s site here.

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    Chandannagar

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      locationChandannagar

      Chandannagar, West Bengal

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        Chandannagar

        locationChandannagar