Pandals decked up as Durga Puja begins, restaurants join in the festive fervour
Restaurants are also tapping in the festive fervour, as they whip up unique dishes reminiscent of the flavours of bengal
From raising awareness about the plight of orphaned children to recreating Satyajit Ray's celebrated film, "Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne," the Durga Puja pandal themes this year are varied. Giving the often neglected section of children -- the orphans, a voice is the Arambagh Puja Samiti. The theme is inspired by Abanindranath Tagore's 1935 painting 'Bharat Mata' that depicts a saffron-clad Mother India.
The pandal features a 40-feet tall replica of Tagore's 'Bharat Mata', flanked with children on both sides. Also seen in the same frame of cluster of skyscrapers. "Even after 70 years of independence, the plight of the orphans has not changed. India is developing, but there is this section of orphan children, whom as a country we have failed miserably," Abhijit Bose, Executive Chairman, Arambagh Puja said. With Arambagh Puja receiving high footfall every year, Bose added that they wanted to use the celebrations as a platform to sensitise people about the issue.
"We want to draw the attention of the government and private bodies to the fact that this crucial issue is a reality in India," he said. The Milan Samiti pandal in Mayur Vihar is also dedicated to children this year, as they bring to life Ray's beloved fantasy adventure film "Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne", 50 years after it released in 1969. "We felt the theme would be interesting for children as well as serve as an element of nostalgia for the grown-ups," Mrinal Biswas, General Secretary of Milan Samiti, said.
The pandal features paintings and sculptures by West Bengal based artists -- Subhra Bera and Sudeep Ranjan Raut, depicting scenes from the film. Taking cue from the original story where Goopy and Bagha are granted three wishes by the bhooter raja (king of ghosts), Biswas explains, that the pandal too invites people to ask Maa Durga for three wishes -- "No Polythene, Yamuna Clean, and Delhi Green", placards of which can be seen across the venue. Matri Mandir Sarbojanin Durga Puja Samiti is showcasing glimpses from the Dilwara Temples of Mount Abu as part of their pandal decoration theme.
The columns in the premises across the venue will replicate the intricate carvings of the original structure.
"The design and architecture of the temples are a venerable illustration of balance in grandeur and simplicity, reflecting Jain values of honesty and frugality. This year we will try and replicate this architectural marvel with utmost sincerity," Debashis Saha, Chief Coordinator, said.
Restaurants are also tapping in the festive fervour, as they whip up unique dishes reminiscent of the flavours of bengal.
Monkey Bar in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata have come up with special menus for the Durga Puja, and will serve lip-smacking delicacies found on the streets of the city of joy. From Beadon Street's Fish Roll and College Street's 'Hing-er Kochuri' to Chitpur Road's Chicken Rezala and Tiretti Bazaar's Prawn Dumpling, the menu is an assortment of all things bong.
The drinks too have elements of the Bengali cuisine with cocktails like 'Piara Peara', 'Puchka Caipiroshka', and Thaanda Chaa. Madhumita Pyne who runs 'Insomniac Cook', a home delivery outlet in Mumbai, has decided to deliver authentic bengali delights -- 'mangsher ghugni' (curried white peas with minced meat), 'bhoger khichuri with labra' (prasad style khichri and mixed vegetable mishmash), 'shukto' (bitter sweet vegetable melange), 'dudh begun' (brinjal cooked in milk) -- during the five days of celebration.
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