Delhi prepares for Durga Puja

Delhi prepares for Durga Puja

It is that time of the year again. Autumn has set in, a slight nip is detectable in the air, kaash and sheuli flowers are blooming in abundance and Delhiites are getting ready to welcome the goddess of power – Maa Durga.

Preparations are on in full swing in most local puja samities of the Capital.
Finishing touches are being given to pandals, food menus for the four-day celebrations are being finalised and deals with artistes for cultural programmes are being sealed. Metrolife takes you through some of these to let you know which pandals to visit to maximise your puja joy.

The Kashmere Gate Durga Puja, held in the Bengali Senior Secondary School compound, is the oldest Durga Puja in Delhi. It was started by Bengali government servants, who migrated post the shifting of the Capital, in 1910.

The chairman of its organising committee, Dipayan Majumdar says, “We believe in maintaining tradition and are hence conducting the festival in exactly the same way as it was done 100 years back. The idol is in ek chaal (one frame), has traditional dhaker shaaj (ornaments made of pristine white thermocol) and is even taken for immersion in a bullock cart and not a truck, as done by many these days.”

“We also promote smaller classical artistes instead of spending a bomb on artistes from Mumbai. This time, we are conducting a special programme on dhaak (dhol). Most people do not know that a different tone and depth of dhaak is reserved for each day of the festival. The sound of dhaak on panchami is supposed to be very different from its sound on dussehra.”

Next, the Chittaranjan Park Durga Puja celebrations are counted as the biggest in the Capital. In this small Bengali-dominated area alone, nine pandals are set up by different samities. These include the Mela Ground, Milan Samiti, D Block, B Block, E Block, Pocket 52, Shiv Mandir, Cooperative society and K Block Puja.

Amit Roy, general secretary, CR Park Durga Puja Samiti, B Block, informs us, “This time, our pandal is based on the theme of Swami Vivekanand’s 150th birth anniversary. The outer view is modelled on the Kanyakumari Vivekanand Rock Memorial and the inner part is made to resemble the Belur Math Ramakrishna Mission in Bengal. Besides, pictures and slogans of Swamiji will be put up on the walls and his famous speech on world religions in Chicago will be rendered throughout.”

The Greater Kailash Part II Durga Puja, on the other hand is themed on ‘Save the Girl Child.’ They have even put up an idol of a girl child, with a school bag, riding on a lion. She has a trishul in one hand and a toy charkha in the other.

Vice-president of its organising committee, Samrat Bannerjee, says, “Our puja celebration is also famous for its elaborate three-day evening aarati, Shondi pujo (the puja held on Ashtami night) and dhunuchi naach.”

If Delhi goes all out to woo Maa Durga, the NCR areas do not fall far behind. In fact, of late Durga Pujas in Noida have been attracting a lot of Delhiites. Famous among these are the Noida Kali Bari, Sector 50 and Sector 62 Durga Pujas.

Kumar Biswas, cultural secretary of the Noida Sector 62 Durga Puja Samiti, informs us, “We are holding a lot of cultural programmes for children this time. It includes childrens’ theatre, art competitions, dance programmes, mimicry shows and Rabindra
sangeet concerts.”

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