It embraces more than the city’s Bengali diaspora, has become a part of Bangalore’s festival fabric, and events organised appeal to all sections of society

This Durga Puja, activities of the Bengali Association in Ulsoor are centred around bringing a new generation of Bengalis into the fold of cultural activities.

Indeed, in the 64 years that the Bengali Association in Ulsoor has organised the festival, the Durga Puja has grown in size and reach. With its modest beginnings in Bangalore in 1949, when a simple ''ghot puja' in Malleswaram marked the occasion for Bengalis from the Indian Institute of Science and public sector industries, the puja has now grown into a hugely popular affair.

And while the Palace Grounds may be the new venue for Durga Puja celebrations, Ulsoor remains the core of the festival, and the Bengali Association here the focal point of festival organisations, whether food, music, dance, competitions or those dramatic pandals that depict Durga’s many moods. The festival is nothing short of a carnival, not least with the youth.

More than four lakh Bengalis live in Bangalore. More than 30 per cent of the visitors to the Durga Puja pandal in Ulsoor are non-Bengalis.

As it grows, the puja embraces more than the city’s Bengali diaspora, and the 10-day festival has become an essential part of Bangalore’s festival fabric.