The biggest festival for Bengalis, Durga Puja or Pujo as it is known within the community is round the corner. While the rituals entail 10 days of fasting, feasting and worship, the last four days – Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami are of special significance especially in Bengal, where the 10-armed goddess is worshipped with great passion and devotion.
The festival itself marks the victory of the Goddess over Mahisasur - the demon, hence Pujo epitomises the victory of good over evil. The festival begins with the arrival of the goddess from her in-laws home to her parents home and culminates with her departure. She also slays the demon on the last day of the festivities. This time the goddess is coming by a Dola – considered an inauspicious sign for they say that when she arrives thus, she brings along destruction in her wake. But she is going back on a Gaj/elephant, considered to be auspicious in terms of prosperity for everyone. Preparations have already started all around the City to welcome the epitome of Shakti, who is also said to use the horse, the nauka/boat or the elephant for her arrival and departure.
Talking to Metrolife Debashis Saha, patron and chairman of the Matri Mandir Kalibari, Safdarjang Enclave, says that this year their theme is based on Tibetan Art and architecture. “It will be our 47th year of Durga Puja celebrations and this time we wanted to show how Indian art has had a definite influence on Tibetan Art. The pandal will have Tibetan prayer wheels, Buddhist Art and a lot of Tibetan history and
“Twenty artisans have come from Bankura, Kolkata to make the pandal, which will be made from thermocol, paper pulp, fabrics and colours. We are also looking forward to inviting Saina Nehwal for one of the days,” adds Debashis.
With growing concerns of environment, Puja Committees across the City are also turning eco-friendly - in the material being used for making the idols. Once such is the committee in Vasundhara Enclave. “Like last year, this year too we will be having an eco-friendly Durga idol. Last year we had won the first prize in East Delhi. The immersion of the idols in Yamuna river - on the last day causes a lot of pollution so having an eco-friendly idol is the best way to take care of the environment,” adds Shantanu Mitra, the Committee’s cultural head.
If on one hand, authorities are busy giving their best this Puja, on the other are Bengalis who are busy finalising their shopping. “Our expenditure doubles during Puja as we have to at least buy seven to eight pairs of clothes for each day of the four-day celebration. I can’t wear any regular stuff, it has to be trendy as this is the only time to flaunt our style,” says an enthusiastic Alka Majumdar.