Priests who had come from West Bengal for the festival led the puja rituals
KOCHI: The mood was upbeat as the Bengalis in town joined hands to celebrate Durga Puja from Wednesday evening.
With the smell of incense and clanging of bells, Ravindra Bhavan (near Gandhi Nagar) was redolent of the faraway West Bengal on Thursday morning.
The annual festival remains an occasion for Bengalis to integrate with their roots. Agrees Ajoy Sen, general secretary of the Keral Banga Samskriti Sangha, “We have around 80 Bengali families in Kochi. Every year, we come together to observe Durga puja. The community bonding is visible over here.”
Celebrations started with a ‘maha shashthi’ on Wednesday. On Thursday, priests who came from West Bengal exclusively for the festival led the puja rituals. Mr. Sen said that the goddess’s idols were made by artisans from Bengal. “They worked for days to make these idols. ‘Dhakis’ (drummers) came from Howrah. The festival of Agomoni (arrival) signifies the win of good over evil, he said.
A sumptuous lunch was served to all who visited the festival pandal set up at Ravindra Bhavan. The menu included rice, dal, vegetable fry and curries. Bengali cooks who have made Kochi their second home added that magic touch to the delicacies prepared for the festival day.
Women and children draped in traditional Bengali attire brought colour to the occasion. Durga Puja continues to be an occasion for Bengalis to present their musical and theatrical skills.
Mr. Sen says that cultural programmes will be held during the festival days.
Theatre buffs staged the drama ‘Chokhe Anguldada’ on Thursday evening. Maha Ashtami will be observed today, followed by Maha Navami on Saturday. Pujas, visarjana, and sindoortsava will be held on Sunday.