Grand pandals, a sea of red-and-white saris and mouth-watering sweets. Some 50 Bengali associations in the city are all geared up to celebrate the Durga Puja on the large scale the occasion is identified with.
The festival starts on October 19 with Panchami, followed by Shashti, Saptami, Ashtami, Nabami and ends on October 24 on Dashami when the immersion of the Durga idols takes place. The festivities kick off on Friday night when the idol of Durga is brought to the pandals.
The city has a strong Bengali presence with as many as three lakh Bengalis. The celebrations are marked by mass pujas and the traditional arati. This apart, various cultural competitions are also organised at the venue to attract large crowds. Sougata Chatterjee, secretary of Sarjapur Outer Ring Road Bengali Association, which is organising the festival at ALT Training Ground, said he expects close to 4,000 people to turn up for the event on each day.
Dilip Maitra, president of The Bengalee Association, Bangalore, said it is not just a religious occasion but also an opportunity that calls for a socio-cultural celebration. “The rituals are done in the traditional way but there are various competitions that will be conducted to make it an enjoyable occasion.”
He added that most people prefer to celebrate the festival along with the entire community as it is not possible to create the same atmosphere at their individual homes.
Durgotsav 2012, which would be celebrated by the Sarathi Socio Cultural Trust at Mangala Kalyana Mantapa, is one of the major events. One of the organisers said there are various fun-filled activities lined up, some of which include performances by Bengali pop artistes and bands along with a homemade food fiesta.
Big names sponsor it
Although the festival is celebrated in an extravagant way in West Bengal, some Bengalis say the grandeur here is no less than the manner in which it is celebrated in Kolkata. As the celebration attracts huge crowds, associations manage to rope in big banners to sponsor the events.
Nimisha Saha, a resident of Koramangala 8th Block, who can’t wait for the festival to begin, said: “It is an amalgamation of joyous festivities and a culturally enriching experience. Bengalis and people from other communities indulge in Bengali cuisine and culture. Enthusiasts unite under one roof and the lines of regional and cultural demarcation are broken.”
New clothes and food
The festival is considered an auspicious time to buy new clothes, indulge in traditional Bengali cuisine such as aloo posto, mochar ghonto and sweets such as the classic rasagolla, mishti dahi, sandesh.