CHENNAI: The five-day Durga Puja celebrations being organised by The Bengal Association in the city began on Saturday with traditional fervour.
A fancy dress competition for children and Anandamela, in which home made food is shared, were highlights of the celebrations on the association’s premises on Giri Road, T.Nagar. It is the 75th year of the puja celebrations by the association, which was started in 1929 as the Bengali Settlers Association. The main festival starts on Sunday with the Maha Sasthi puja, the sixth day of Navaratri and continues through Maha Sapthami on Monday, Maha Ashtami on Tuesday and Maha Dasami on Wednesday. On the last day, the idol of Durga is immersed in the sea.
Association honorary president Anjan Prasad Chakraborty said that along with traditional pujas throughout the day by a priest from Kolkata, cultural programmes have been planned every evening.
On Sunday, singer Indrani Sen would perform, while on Monday ‘Aghatan,’ a play would be staged by members of the association. On Tuesday, a dance drama on Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada would be presented.
Association secretary Tapas Bhajan said that Maha Bhog (Prasad) would be served to all devotees on all the days. There would also be free lunch in the afternoons. In the evenings, traditional Bengali food would be available at the venue at a nominal price. An aarti would be performed every evening.
The Bengal Association Trust manages the functioning of the association. Trust chairman Debashish Roy said that most early settlers from Bengal in the city were in government service. The association also runs the Kalyani Kumaramangalam Primary School.