A melting pot of cultures

A melting pot of cultures

The different ways in which each community celebrates the festive season adds a lot of colour to the occasion.In fact, the varied customs associated with Durga Puja, Dasara or Navaratri show the unique blend of cultures that Bangalore has.

The Gujarati community in the City celebrates the festival with a lot of pomp and show. The garba and dandiya are must and the mouth-watering Gujarati cuisine complements the festive mood. But the main attraction is the dazzling attire worn by the members
of this community.

“The dandiya and garba starts from the first day of Navaratri and goes on till Dasara. We have people from all communities, who take part in the celebrations.

Women and men are dressed in their traditional costumes — patchwork and mirror-work cholis and lehengas can be seen all over the place. We have Gujarati food as well and every year, the entire community comes together and ushers in the festive season. For these ten days, we go all out and enjoy ourselves,” says Harshad, a professional.

The Oriya community prefers to keep it simple and yet enjoy the festival in their own way. The community prefers to concentrate more on the puja. A few of them also attend small cultural programmes by local Oriya artistes.

For the Bengali community, however, the festival is a huge affair. The five-day-long festivities begin on the sixth day of the festival (shashti). Bengalis generally organise the puja in halls across the City. “We bring an idol-maker from Kolkata to make the idol.

Every year, we do something different. This year, the idol will be in the gram bangla style, which is similar to the deity worshipped in the rural areas of Bengal. We will have traditional motifs like paddy grains depicted near the idol, so as to portray the villages of West Bengal.

From saptami onwards, we will have the bhog and anjali in the afternoons. On the eighth day of the festival, we will have maha ashtami puja, which will commence at midnight. Apart from the ceremonies, we will have a host of cultural activities lined up on all these days,” informs Dipashish Ghosh, the general secretary of the R T Nagar Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti.

The Dasara celebrations for the Bihari community in the City will go on for a span of ten days. The focus will be more on the puja than the cultural aspects, explains Kamal Jha, a member of the organising committee of the Siddhartha Sanskritik Parishad.

“Ours is a very traditional puja. We will have the puja from the first day onwards. The kalash sthapan ceremony will mark the beginning of the festivities and we follow the mithila style of puja. Like every year, we will have the kanya puja, pran pratistha and lochan vilochan on saptami.

On the eighth day, we will have the maha nisha puja and havan. Local Bihari artistes as well as those from Bihar will be here to perform. This year, we have Bhojpuri geet and bhajan artistes,” sums up Prajapati Jha, the president of the Bihar Sanskritik Parishad.

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