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Bengalis in city prepare for Navarathri celebrations

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FESTIVAL TIME: A huge Durga idol being prepared for the Navarathri celebrations, organised by the Keral Banga Samskriti Sangha, in Kochi.
FESTIVAL TIME: A huge Durga idol being prepared for the Navarathri celebrations, organised by the Keral Banga Samskriti Sangha, in Kochi.

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: For the past one month, Tapan Kumar Jana’s artistic skills have been put to the test in this city, far away from his familiar home terrain of Kolkata.

Working on a towering idol of Goddess Durga, he knows that the spirit of celebration of his community members settled in this city will rise depending on the grandeur of his creation.

The wait is over for the Bengali community in the city. Navarathri, the biggest event in the festival calendar of Bengalis, is here. Having completed a shopping spree buying new clothes and sweets, they are now just waiting to make the celebrations a grand affair.

For the past 22 days, Mr. Jana and his two sons have been working on the huge idol, the central piece of the celebrations, to be erected at Rabindra Bhavan at Gandhi Nagar. “Finishing touches are being given now and the idol will be ready in a day’s time. When finished, it will be 11 feet tall,” said Subhendhu Gupta, president of Keral Banga Samskriti Sangha (KBSS).

The clay used for the creation of the idol has been extracted from a riverbed and brought here from Bengal since the mud here is unfit for the purpose, according to the organisers. Beside the massive idol of Durga, smaller idols of her children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartik are also being made.

Rituals from Thursday

The KBSS will kickstart its celebrations with Shashthi Puja on Thursday, the sixth day of the festival that lasts nine nights. Goddess Durga is welcomed on Shashthi day to puja arenas.

Other rituals observed on the day include Bodhon (consecration of Goddess Durga idol), Amontron (inviting Goddess Durga), and Adibas (sanctifying the stay of Goddess Durga in the puja arena).

“On all four days starting from Thursday, separate pujas will be held during mornings and evenings,” Mr. Gupta said. In the afternoons, bhog (a meal) and khichdi (a popular Bengali dish made of rice and dal) will be served to all those coming to Rabindra Bhavan.

In the nights, community members will come together and showcase their artistic skills reflecting their rich tradition and heritage, said Abhinabha Das, secretary of the KBSS.

The celebrations end with the immersion of idols on Bijoya Dashami (the 10th day) that falls on September 28. The idols will be taken in a procession to the Naval Base for immersion. The sacred water in which the idols are immersed will be taken back to Rabindra Bhavan and sprinkled over the devotees.

The community members will then come together, celebrating the victory of good over evil followed by a dinner. Those interested in taking part in the celebrations can contact: 94470 10347, 98957 59980.

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