The first week of October this year was when India celebrated the long-awaited Durga Puja festival after the recent inclusion of Durga Puja in UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. The festivities were carried out with great enthusiasm and fervor. The brightly lit ‘pandals’ or pavilions were infused with event activities like folk music, culinary, craft, traditions, and performing arts, which added to the dynamism of this celebration.
Durga Puja is one of the most important festivals celebrated in India, especially in the state of West Bengal. Kolkata has emerged as the geographical and cultural heart of the national and global celebrations of the festival.
UNESCO representatives had been invited to participate in a pre-Durga Puja celebration to be held on September 1 in Kolkata as a thanksgiving gesture to the world body. The Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO's 2003 Convention on Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage added Durga Puja in Kolkata to its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity last December. It received the honor during its 16th session held in Paris, France. A total of 14 elements from India are inscribed on UNESCO'S list of Intangible Cultural Heritage and Humanity.
Secretary of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage, Tim Curtis, and Director and UNESCO Representative for the UNESCO New Delhi Office, Eric Falt, were present on the dais during the event. "India perhaps offers more intangible cultural heritage practices than any other country in the world. And, many of them are in need of safeguarding. We at UNESCO work closely with the government of India in the preservation of monuments and the intangible cultural heritage, which many times tourists miss or are not much aware of," Fault said in his address". The West Bengal government under Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee organised a mega show to celebrate and thank UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) for conferring the “Heritage” tag to Kolkata’s Durga Puja.
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Published on: October 2022
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