Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Durga Puja frenzy sweeps Mumbai




Like every year, this time too major pandals in the city have tried to recreate the spirit and flavour of Kolkata's Durga Pujas. From displaying ornately-designed idols of the Goddess amidst different themes, to organising cultural programmes and setting up numerous food and handicraft stalls, the pandals have become grander and the festivities, bigger. Here's a lowdown. 
  THE TIMES OF INDIA LOKHANDWALA DURGOTSAV 2015, LOKHANDWALA
This lavish Durga Puja pandal, first conceptualised by singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya in 1996, is decked with jewellery, precious stones, gold and has been created by craftsmen from Murshidabad in West Bengal. This year, there is a live kitchen counter, where bhog for thousands of people is prepared daily . We have recreated Gariahat (a traditional festive market in the heart of South Kolkata) that has stalls for ethnic saris, jhaal muri, bhander-chaa (tea in earthen cups) and more.There is also an art gallery where Durga's paintings are on display . Artists will paint live on the stage even as celebrity singers perform live.Unlike other pujas, the TOI Lokhandwala Durgotsav is longer by a day . 

NAVI MUMBAI BENGALI ASSOCIATION DURGA PUJA, VASHI
In its 36th year, the 16.5 feet In its 36th year, the 16.5 feet high Durga idol is completely chemical-free -made from bamboo sticks, hay and soil from the banks of the Ganges.“This year, every ornament on the murti as well as all other decorations have been made from seashells and so, it is ecofriendly ,“ says TK Biswas, Sr, Vice President of the committee. Sixteen artisans from Kolkata worked for seven months to complete the pandal, which has over 27 stalls, including food booths that will serve biryanis from different states, apart from the traditional Bengali street fare. Every evening, cultural activities will take place. 

NORTH BOMBAY SARBOJANIN DURGA PUJA, JUHU
This year's pandal decorations have been inspired by the ancient Meenakshi Temple in Tamil Nadu. Keeping the Mukerji family tradition alive, the 18-feet tall Pratima weighs more than four tonnes. “The USP of our Durga Puja is that it is air-conditioned and has facilities like valet parking and washrooms. We have installed an LED outside the hall, which displays all the programmes happening inside,“ says president Ram Mukerji. “Unlike other pandals, ours is a family affair, with celebrities like Kajol, Bappi and Bappa Lahiri helping in serving bhog,“ adds secretary Deb Mukerji.
BENGAL CLUB SARVAJANIK DURGOTSAV, SHIVAJI PARK
The idol has been made by artisans from Kumartuli, a traditional potter's quarter in Kolkata, and the pandal will showcase the theme of the nine avatars of Durga. “We have more than 38 stalls that exhibit handicrafts, jewellery , handwoven saris and a variety of delicacies from West Bengal and the North East that are usually not available in Mumbai. Also, this year, we are aiming to raise at least `15-20 lakh that we can donate to charity ,“ says Prasoon Rakshit, spokesperson of the club. With its morning rituals and grand evening aarti, the venue is expected to see a crowd of 8-9 lakh people.




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