Durga puja 2018: Top pandals you must visit in Mumbai
Want to get into the spirit of Durga puja? Then make like a Bengali and hop across to these pandals spread across Mumbai
Powai Sarvajanin Durgotsav
AT: MCGM Ground, opposite Jalvayu Vihar, adjacent to BEST Bus Terminus, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai.
USP: The sizeable Bengali population in Powai has helped spread the fame of the local Durga puja since 2006, when it was first held. Head here for a community feeling, one of the key features of this festival.
(From left) Sharbani Mukherjee, Ayan Mukerji, Rema Lahiri and Debu Mukherjee pose before the idol of their family puja function
North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti
AT: Golden Tobacco Factory, Tobacco House, Indira Nagar, Vile Parle West.
USP: This is the first year that the pujo organised by Kajol and Rani Mukherjee's family at Tulip Star hotel in Juhu has shifted location to the Great Eastern Tobacco Factory's grounds near Mithibai College on SV Road. The earlier venue had become a hotspot for the who's who of the Bengali community in Mumbai, and had an array of pop-up stalls that whipped up a taste of Kolkata. We paid a visit to the new location on Monday and found that the structure of the pujo has remained the same, with a food court, performance area and hall with the main idol. But the crowd was significantly thinner, though we suspect that to be a case of word having to get around more. And it's still the best bet for mixing pandal-hopping with celebrity-spotting.
Sindur khela is a ritualistic affair among married women
HRCWA Durga Puja
AT: Bhoomi Valley CHS, Thakur Village, Kandivali East.
USP: This one is a relatively new puja, entering its fifth year in 2018. It has already hosted performances by big-name Bengali musicians like Babul Supriyo, Bappi Lahiri and Amit Kumar. And this year, the organisers are bringing down Ash King, who might seem like a curious choice given the fact that the musician is based in London. But then again, his real name is Ashutosh Ganguly, and King was born to a Bengali father and Gujarati mother.
AT: Kalyan Complex, Yari Road, Versova.
USP: This puja is held in a vacant plot adjacent to Leaping Windows, a popular cafe in Versova. It's a neighbourhood puja with a pandal that's managed entirely by women, where the locals can enjoy the festive fervour. Join them for the bhog that is free for all, and take in the beauty of the exquisite idol.
Pic Courtesy/mohan electronics
AT: Veer Savarkar Marg, Shivaji Park, Dadar West.
USP: Top marks to this puja committee for organising a multi-faith inauguration ceremony this year. A father from a church, a representative of Mahim Darga, a Hindu monk from Ramkrishna Mission and the principal of a Parsi charitable institution in Dadar lit the lamp, and that deserves a round of applause. There is also a grand evening aarti that features five dhaakis, or drummers, from Kolkata. It's also one of the few places in Mumbai where Kumari Puja is performed, which involves a girl aged between three and eight years being worshipped as a goddess.
One of the highlights of every puja is the menu for its bhog, a grand feast that is usually free for all
Bombay Durgabari Samiti
AT: Vikas Building, G Vaidya Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort.
USP: This puja in the heart of SoBo goes back to 1930. This year's theme is "mela", meaning that it will be even more of a festive affair than usual. There is also a bunch of cultural programmes, including a recital of Rabindra Sangeet performed by non-Bengalis, and a comedy performance by Anuvab Pal, who we are sure will crack a joke or three at the expense of the Bengali crowd.
Pandal-hop in an organised manner
Mumbai Durga Puja Parikrama involves a planned bus ride that takes participants to 10 pandals spread across Mumbai. The journey begins at night and includes Bangla gaan and an authentic Bengali meal.
Meeting Point: Azad Nagar metro station, Andheri West.
Log on to: insider.in
Cost: Rs 1,250 to Rs 7,500
Lokhandwala Durgotsav: This puja is famous for its bhog, which attracts people from across Andheri West.
NMBA Durga puja: Vashi residents can head to the puja organised by Navi Mumbai Bengali Association, which runs a social project for cancer patients.
Sri Sri Durga Puja: This one in Khar is a no-frills affair organised by Ramakrishna Math and Mission.
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