From Dasara to Durga Puja, different festivals are celebrated with fervour by diverse communities in the city. Metrolife takes you on a tour through the celebrations.
Gujaratis are known for their large dance parties known as ‘garbas’. Many grounds in the city play host to these garba celebrations. “We wear a traditional garment called the ‘chaniya choli,’ which is similar to a ‘lehenga’ but made with cotton fabric,” says Shireen, a resident of SG Palya.
Performances include songs in praise of goddess Durga. The highlight of their festival is the dancing and singing.
The Marwaris celebrate the festival of Navratri by worshipping goddess Shakti. The nine different forms of the goddess are worshipped on the first nine days. “On the ninth day, there is a ceremony known as ‘Kanya Pujan’ where girl children are given traditional delicacies as a sign of respect to the goddess,” says Ekta Poddar, a student.
Another ceremony called ‘havan’ is performed to mark the power and grace of Durga. The tenth day is ‘Vijayadasami’, the victory of good over evil, where idols of Ravan are burnt.
The Tamil community focuses on the ‘golu’ arrangement, or the doll display, during this time.The dolls are arranged on an odd number of steps and depict scenes from the Ramayana or even daily life. People are invited to the houses to view the dolls. The celebrations include singing and dancing.
The Bengalis celebrate the festival for five days. On the sixth day, they conduct a ‘visarjan,’ the immersing of goddess Durga in water. The five days are celebrated with multiple pujas in the morning, followed by a community ‘bhog’ (lunch). Cultural programmes are organised in the evenings.
In Bengaluru, the Bengalee Association organises one of the biggest events in the city at Manyata Tech Park, Thanisandra. Akansha, a member of the association, says, “There are certain phrases we use during immersion time. Like ‘Asche bochor abar hobe’, which means ‘It will happen next year’.”
In Karnataka, Dasara or Vijayadashami is celebrated to commemorate the defeat of Ravana and Durga’s triumph over the demon ‘Mahishasur’. “We also have the practice of doll arrangement, called ‘Bombe habba’. We pay obeisance to goddess Saraswati and do ‘Ayudha Puja’ where we worship machines and other things that make our lives easier,” says Kavya, a resident on KR Puram.
“Most Telugu people who have moved to Bengaluru have adopted the Kannada way of celebrating the festival of Navratri,” says Mithil, a student. The community celebrates the Gombe Habba, the practice of setting up doll displays and distributes sweets to visitors. ‘Ayudha Puja’ and worship of the goddess Chamundeshwari on Dashami is also a part of their celebrations.
The Assamese people celebrate the festival of Durga Puja as a community. They set up statues of goddess Durga in large grounds, which also have food and gift stalls. Shivankar, a member of the Assam Association Bangalore, says, “On the last four days of the festival, we feast on homemade preparations. The maize crop that we grow is offered to the goddess.”