Hues of festivity

Unique pandals, traditional rituals and cultural performances, Durga Puja in Bengaluru this year is being celebrated with various themes

October 20, 2015 04:09 pm | Updated 08:56 pm IST - Bengaluru

Durga Puja is as much an occasion of festivity as it is of a wonderful display of creativity. Despite their busy schedules and other constraints, various associations and organisations in Bengaluru do their utmost to make Durga Puja as unique as possible without compromising on tradition. This year one of the main attractions is the Jayamahal Durga Puja. In its 61st year, the pandal at Jayamahal has been recreated as Vivekananda Rock Temple. Bijon Majumdar, President of Jayamahal Durga Puja, says this year they wanted an Indian theme, different from last year’s Egyptian theme: “To build the pandal, an entire team of artisans were brought in from Kolkata. The pandal also has temple depictions and a statue of Vivekananda.”

Cultural activities are different as well. Bijon says, “We usually get artistes from Kolkata to perform. But this year, we want to promote local talent. There are many talented artistes here, so this time, they will perform.”

The puja by the not-for-profit Bannerghatta Durga Foundation is completely traditional.

“The theme of this year’s puja is “baroyari” puja in the shabeki style. The look of the Durga idol is the same as it used to be 200 years ago,” explains Priya Mukharjee, member of the foundation. Among the cultural performances planned here are Dhunuchi naaach competition, Chenda Vadyam by Trissur Puram team, classical dance performance by renowned artiste Ashwini Raghupathy and her troupe and Rabindra Sangeet performance on ashtami.

“The Bannerghatta Durga Puja has become well known owing to the fact that the decor, pujas and rituals are followed strictly according to age-old traditions and customs and the family crowd just loves it,” says Sonjib Mukharjee, founder-trustee of the Foundation.

Durga puja in Anandadhara, J.P. Nagar, uses an intricate pandal designed by Mita Ghosh, Soumik Choudhury and team. “Anandadhara has depicted the theme from mythology,” says Mita. “It is traditionally believed that Durga each year travels in one or the other mode of transport such as a boat, elephant or horse. This year she has arrived on horse and is leaving for her abode in a palanquin. Keeping this in mind Anandadhara has portrayed in beautiful colours these modes of transport and bahons of the goddess and her children accompanying her. With the trident (Trishul) she destroys evil and with the conch (shonkho) she brings in peace thereby maintaining balance of life. All together it gives a typical rural Bengal look which is soothing to the eyes. Props used are biodegradable keeping in mind our commitment towards environment.”

Subhajyoti Banerjee, who handles communication for Socio-Cultural Association, Indiranagar, says they will be using traditional decoration of Daker Saaj this year. Besides this, the cultural events have attracted quite a crowd, especially dandiya. Though there are also traditional cultural activities, including a baul performance by Raja Das. Organising Durga Puja especially amid a crisis of power shortage is quite a challenge. As Subhajyoti points out, “Unlike in Kolkata, where you can have puja pandals on the road, here we have to hire grounds and liaise with authorities. These are some of the challenges we face.”

Sudipto Das, a member of Sarathi Socio-Cultural Society says, “We want to be inclusive and celebrate Durga Puja as an Indian festival. For our cultural programmes we have Bangla folk music, rock music and Bollywood singer Ash King.”

Bengalee Association, known for its grand Durga Puja celebration, has planned a grand festivities this year too with food and exhibition stalls and cultural performances. Pockets of Bengaluru will be abuzz with Puja till October 22.

So join in the celebrations.

Pujas and venues

Bannerghatta Durga Foundation: Sri Srinivasa Kalyana Mantapa, off Bannerghatta Road, behind IIM, Bangalore.

Jayamahal Durga Puja: Jayamahal Ladies Club ground

Anandadhara: J.P. Nagar

Bengalee Association: RBANM school ground

Socio-cultural association: Poorna Prajna and Sishu Griha School grounds HAL III stage, new Tippasandra.

Sarathi socio-cultural trust: Mangala Kalyana Mantapa, 80 feet Road, Koramangala

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