The Great Durga Pujo trail
It's here. Five days of Durga Pujo festivities, celebrated with pomp and fervour by probashi (migrant) Bengalis and non-Bengalis alike at numerous pandals across the city. Soma Das gives you the lowdown on what's in store at some of the prominent ones
28-foot-idol at Vashi
The Vashi Sarvajanik Durga Puja has many firsts to its name. This year, the idol of Maa Durga stands at 28 feet, and their pandal is a recreation of Belur Math (headquarters of the Ramakrishna Mission in Kolkata). They have a huge budget of Rs 5 crores for the celebrations, which they claim is one of the highest across the country. “The idol will be decorated with dhaaker saaj (weeds for garments and jewellery) and the pandal will have loads of special effects. The Bhog will feature dishes such as Fried Rice, Beguni (fried brinjal), Khichdi, mixed vegetables, etc,” said Utpal Chakraborty, treasurer, Sarvajanik Vashi Durga Puja. In the evenings, there will be performances by Sunidhi Chauhan (October 20), Shreya Ghoshal (October 21) and yes, even Shah Rukh Khan (October 23) is also expected to visit the venue.
At: ICL College Ground, Sector 10A, opposite Father Agnel’s School, Vashi.
The Bengal Club’s 77th year celebrations will be graced by a 22-feet high idol. The goddess will be decked out in traditional dhaaker saaj and the pandal will be a replica of Rabindranath Tagore’s home. “The idol will be made from eco-friendly materials, using the soil from the banks of the Ganges and the idol will be decorated with non-toxic paints. Since Shivaji Park is a silent zone, our celebrations will include a Dhunuchi Naach (dance with the censer), elocutions, drawing competitions and clay modelling for children,” said Amit Chaudhari, Vice President, Bengal Club. This apart, one can shop at 200 stalls selling Bengali handicrafts, sarees and fabrics.
At: Shivaji Park, next to statue of Shivaji, Dadar (W).
LED lights, drummers from rural Bengal
Organised by singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya, the Lokhandwala Durga Puja is entering its 17th year and will be marked by lavish traditional celebrations. “The idol will be bedecked in white metal saaj and there will be LED lighting at the pandal as well. There will be 35 dhaakis (drummers) from Murshidabad and a lavish buffet as well,” says the singer. One of the highlights of their event is that they serve food for four days including the Dashami Bhoj on the final day. Their cultural events include a play and Indo-fusion events. The menu includes items such as Pulav, Khichdi, Bhaja (fried items), Payesh and Mishti (sweets).
At: Lokhandwala Gardens, Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri (W).
Movies meet Ma Durga
The Bombay Durgabari Samiti’s Durga Pujo at Tejpal Hall is one of the city’s oldest. In its 83rd year, their theme is Maa Durga in Cinema and the pandal will see a tribute to the cross-cultural connect of Durga Puja with the ongoing centenary year of Indian cinema. Watch out for presentation on the theme as well. “Cinema reflects the cultural diversity and connects people across the country. So, we will celebrate movies in all languages and how they have portrayed the mother, as a source of strength, be it Kahaani or Parineeta. There will be pictures and quotations from movies as well as songs. The idol will be eco-friendly and made with Ganges soil, cane and clay,” says Chandan Kumar Bhattacharjee, Chairman, Social and Cultural Committee, Bombay Durga Bari Samiti. While costs have spiraled, the Samiti has decided to not cut corners and reduce any items from the Bhog, which will include Khichdi, Payesh, and other items. Apart from in-house plays, one will also get a chance to witness a Kolkata troupe in performance.
At: Tejpal Auditorium, Gowalia Tank, Kemps Corner, in front of August Kranti Maidan.
>> North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja
At: Hotel Tulip Star, Juhu.
>> Ramakrishna Math Durga Puja
At: 12th Road, Khar (W).