Mumbai festival: Best places to enjoy dandiya, durga puja and Ram Leela
A roundup of the venues in Mumbai that promise the liveliest dandiya action, best durga puja pandals and Ram leela performances during Navratri festival
Ruparel Navratri Utsav
7 pm onwards: Those who cannot imagine Navratri without Falguni Pathak, the singer will be performing live for 10 consecutive days at the Ruparel Navratri Utsav. A two lakh sq foot wooden floor space has been created for the dance within the 13-acre area. There’s a parking space that can accommodate 1,000 vehicles. Add to this there will be 150 bouncers and 50 female security guards and ambulance services deployed over 10 nights. More than 35,000 people are expected at this venue, that will also host a garba competition where the winning couple can bag a 10-day holiday to Spain.
Where: Late Shri Pramod Mahajan Sports Complex, Next to Vasant Complex, Mahavir Nagar, Borivli West
Entry: Rs 700 onwards
6 pm onwards: Catch singer Parthiv Gohil live in action for the first time at a Navratri function. Gohil, who shot to fame as a playback singer in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas and Saawariya, will be belting out dandiya favourites. Other performances will include Sheri Garba, Marwari folk music and even some Punjabi bhangra. Each night Gohil will showcase a different concept.
Where: Nesco Center, Western Express Highway, Goregaon East
Entry: Rs 300 onwards
7.20 pm onwards: Over the past 13 years, the Naidu Club has been organising garba nights at the same venue. This is the only Navratri event in India that has not changed the venue and management in 13 years. With 30,000 footfalls a day, the crowds go up to two lakh over the 10 days. A temporary temple is made within the 100,000 square feet space which also has a 90,000 square feet wooden platform for dancers. There’s a seating area for the audience, besides an AC VIP lounge. Key attractions include a surprise Bollywood guest, besides a chance to play garba for a prize money of '1 crore.
Where: Korakendra Ground 1, RM Bhattad Rd, Haridas Nagar, Borivli West
Entry: Rs 360 onwards
Raas Rang Navratri
6 pm onwards: Held on a comparatively smaller scale than its Western Line counterparts, this venue is highly sought after in the vicinity. Around 6,000 attendees are expected to attend this dandiya function that will feature a performance by dandiya king Naitik Nagda. Nagda, whose tryst with live shows began when he was all of 10, has performed with Kailash Kher, Sona Mohapatra, Hard Kaur and Farhan Akhtar. He shot to fame at the Commonwealth Games when he matched tunes with AR Rahman.
Where: Modella Mill Compound,Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg,Thane West
Entry: Rs 250 onwards
8.30 pm onwards: If you want to add a five-star touch to the festivities, head to Radiance Dandiya organised by Purple Blue Events. Taking you through the beats will be an orchestra headed by Manish Parekh’s Drumbeats, one of the top end dandiya orchestra troupes in the city. The luxury five-star is also offering street-style dishes, with a gourmet touch, in keeping with the festive mood.
Where: Hotel Sahara Star, Opposite Domestic Airport, Vile Parle East
Entry: Rs 800 onwards
7 pm to 12 am: This indoor stadium is one of the hottest venues to catch all the dandiya action this season, at the Dandiya Festival. The experience is one of a kind, given the view of the Arabian Sea from within the Dome’s walls. The pillar-less space ensures a hassle-free time for garba dancers. And because it’s indoors, the music can go on well beyond midnight. There will be a fusion of traditional garba and Bollywood dandiya with South Mumbai’s famous Ramzat Group.
Where: Dome@NSCI SVP Stadium, Worli
Entry: Rs 400-Rs 3,500
Following the Devi
For those who cannot be Bengal-bound this Durga Puja, the island city has enough to ensure you don’t feel homesick
Powai Durga Puja
From Sept 25 to Oct 3: Organised by the Powai Bengali Welfare Association, this year’s Durga puja will have a theme of the pagoda. The saree draped on the idol won’t be of cloth, but made of mud. On the entertainment front, there will be Bengali theatre, live performances, a drawing competition, a photo exhibition, besides several food stalls offering the best delicacies from Bengal.
Where: Hiranandani Gardens, Powai
North Bombay Sarbojonin Puja
From Sept 30 to Oct 3 : This puja will be celebrating its 70th year with a 17 feet tall idol, that will be draped in a designer sari. The entire set up will be done aboard a boat. The puja rituals will be followed through all five days in a fully air conditioned pandal. Bhog will be served to devotees. And, for those looking for more options, a massive food court is the answer. Adding to the festivities will be live performances by Usha Uthup and Shaan among others.
Where: Tulip Star Hotel, Vaikunthalal Mehta Road, Juhu
Shivaji Park Durgotsav
From Sept 30 to Oct 3: Entering its 82nd year is the Shivaji Park Durgotsav, one of the few pandals in the city to retain the authentic puja flavour minus the frills. One highlight of this puja is the spread of food and handicraft stalls that travel all the way from Kolkata. Whether you are looking for that perfect Bengali egg roll or a handloom saree, this is the place to head to.
Where: Bengal Club, Shivaji Park, Dadar West
Ram Krishna Mission Puja
Sept 25 to Oct 3, 6.30 am onwards: A far cry from the festive noise, is this quiet puja, that is thronged by thousands of devotees, yet stands apart for its peaceful ambience and discipline. For those seeking an authentic temple flavour of pujo festivities, this is the place to go. Don’t miss the sandhi puja, a customary Ashtami ritual where 108 diyas are lit. For foodies, the bhog served here is arguably the best in Mumbai. Small wonder that people around the city visit this venue to experience the bhog.
Where: Ramakrishna Mission Marg, 12th Road, Khar West
Call: 6181 8000
New Bengal Club Puja
Sept 25 to Oct 3 : Known to draw no less than two lakh visitors, this puja is one of the most popular ones in Thane. Known for its fine artistry, the idol in this puja is one to watch out for. The details have been kept under wraps until now, but this 16-year old puja is known to live up to its hype.
Where: Mullabaug, in front of Nilkanth Woods, behind Happy Valley Complex, Manpada, Thane (W)
Kalbadevi Durga Puja
Sept 25 to Oct 3: Established in 1930 by the jewellers of Zaveri Bazar, Kalbadevi Sarvajanin Durga Puja is the city’s oldest. In its 88th year, this puja still retains its quaint charm, even as the idol is adorned with dazzling pieces of real gold and diamonds. The background ornamentation made of white thermocol called “daaker shaaj” comes from Kolkata.
Where: Madhav Baug, CP Tank CALL: 98215 74468
Entry: Rs 0
Call: 98215 74468
Watch the Leela
Lose yourself in stories from the Ramayana that come alive on the city’s open grounds
Don’t miss the spectacle as a towering effigy of Ravan is set on fire by the beach, on September 30, the 10th day of Navratri.
Touted as the city’s oldest Ramleela ground, this is the only one of its kind where the effigy of Ravan is not burnt. A group of 25 performers from Ayodhya will be enacting stories from the epic across 10 days.
Where: Mahapalika Marg, Dhobi Talao
When: Till Sept 30, 7pm to 10 pm
Shivaji Raje Sports Ground
The Ramlila Prachar Samiti has been organising this Ramleela since 1982. The gigantic stage on which the troupe of Shri Rajesh Rastogi perform is one of the main attractions.
Where: Haji Zakaria Road, Malad West
When: Till Sept 30, 7 to 10 pm
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