Blend of devotion and entertainment

Puja Pandals

Blend of devotion  and entertainment

A pandal by Poorva Bangalore Cultural Association.

For the vibrant and populous Bengalee community in Bangalore and their friends, Durga Puja is not just about the festivities which are plentiful and elaborate, it is also a pandal-hopping time.

The week-long festivities started on Wednesday and puja committees across the City have apparently thrown all their energy and creativity into making the celebrations at each venue truly memorable.

The activities range from bringing down well-known artists from Kolkata to involving members and their families in the cultural programmes, overseeing the decoration of the pandal and the all important serving of the Bhog or community meal.

 The oldest Bengalee association at RBANMS Grounds is celebrating its 50th jubilee and along with the beautifully decorated pandal where thousands of people flock each day, they have a host of cultural programmes organised to keep the devotees entertained in the evenings. On Wednesday evening, at the start of the festivities, popular singer Nachiketa Chakraborty came down from Kolkata to perform before a packed audience. For those who missed it there is still plenty in store in the coming week at the different venues.

The Poorva Bangalore Cultural Association (PBCA) is organising a celebration lasting over 5 days at the VSR Convention Hall, Brookefields. “From the arrival (bodhan) of the Goddess Durga, on the first day to her departure (bisarjan) on the last day, we have made arrangement for the puja rituals like arati and  pushpanjali (flower offerings), a delicious bhog for everyone, with  members and their  families serving the food in the true spirit of the Puja, competitions for all ages and the Sandhi Puja at 11.30 pm on September 26,” says Dr Subir Roy, Secretary, PCBA.

“Celebrity sportsperson Chuni Goswami, and noted poet Pradip Ghosh, both from Kolkata have come down to be part of the Puja celebrations. We also have well-known artists like Antara Chowdhury and Lopamudra Mitra to entertain the gathering,” adds Sukhdev Nag, a member of PCBA.

On Maha Saptami night, Kabir Suman will entertain people at the Sun City SORBA Puja pandal on Sarjapur Road. “He has a big fan following among Bengalee music lovers. His songs are a mix of contemporary themes and Western folk music,” says Pushpa Ray who makes it a point to attend his concerts whenever he visits the City.

The Sarathi Forum at Koramangala has Antara Chowdhury performing on Maha Ashtami night and Lopamudra Mitra from Kolkata on Maha Navami night.

“Antara is a wonderful singer and well-known for her popular nursery rhymes. Lopamudra Mitra, on the other hand, is enjoyed for her blend of poetry and music that is rich and entertaining, and full of expression,” said Debashree Battacharya who is down in the City from the UK and plans to take in as many Puja programmes as she can.
Sangeeta and Ranjan Ghoshal will be part of an effort to recreate the atmosphere at Maddox Square in Kolkata at their Jayamahal Sarbajanin Durga Charitable Samiti.

“Our association is very warm and homely and entire families are involved in the cultural programmes and the serving of the bhog. Our pandal this year is very traditional and after the Puja is done on Maha Navami, we will get together and sing through the night. However, we will ensure that the decibel levels are low so as not to disturb the neighbourhood,” they add.

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