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Traditional alopna of Bengal on Durga Puja: Need to revive auspicious symbolic art
In Bengal, the most celebrated Durga Puja is around the corner and celebratory spirits are soaring and a beginning has been made with a longest alpona - rangoli of Bengal- drawn on one of the streets of Kolkata which is around one kilometere long.

In Bengal and Assam, people and devotees are gearing up for 5-day gala festivities with amazing sweets, tasty food, decorated pandal hopping, dancing with glory, and devotedly welcoming Maa Durga to her paternal home.

Though, the longest alpona or alpana is in form of colourful motifs on the floor/street. However, it is regarded as a sacred art done with hands using mainly a paste of rice and flour on auspicious and religious occasions in Bengal. But, as a traditional art the other colours that can be used are green and red. But, modern alpona is done in all kinds of colours which are commercially available.

In the olden times, the aupicious alpona was quickly drawn with rice paste with certain motifs related to Maa Durga such as feet, tilak, weapons like triad, maize and a symbol for the feminine energy.

However, with time and modern tools of drawing and art, the symolic art started getting relpace with the elements of fine art. The alpona started bigger, bold and colourful.

In some of interior and tribal villages of Bengal, one can still see the simple line drawing type alpona or double line alpona with pattern decoration. Invariable the motifs associated with Maa Durga are shown.

The real alpona, which once floors is now being replaced with readymade plastic stickers available in the markets. In big cities, the traditional art of alpana fo invoking Maa Durga with finger-painted motifs using rice paste has got lost.

There is need to revive the traditional alpona with motifs as ritualistic signs and symbols from festivals, mythology and scriptures instead using colour powders or acrylic paints which will get seen in puja-mandaps in Bengal in the coming few days.

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