BANGALORE: It is that time of the year when most Bengalis away from home wish they were nowhere but home.
So what happens to the puja spirit of Bengalis who have been away for years? Those in Bangalore have an answer. Over the years, many of them have managed to beat their homesickness and created a mini Kolkata here, setting up 45 festive pandals across the city.
Among them is Bijon Majumdar (69), the president of the Jayamahal Durga Puja association, celebrating its 60th year now. “We have authentic Bengali food lined up for the visitors. Besides the bhog, we have 15 food stalls,” says Bijon.
The oldest and the biggest Durga puja in the city is that of the Bengalee Association, which has stepped into its 65th year.
Interestingly, some pandals make space for non-Bengalis as well. The Electronics City cultural pandal, now in its third year, is an example. “There was nothing to do in Electronics City during puja, so we decided to start something. Ours is the only pandal in the area,” says Anup Tarafdar, a core committee member of the group behind this pandal.
Given the cosmopolitan nature of Electronics City, the pandal has a Dandiya concert every year. The group is bringing artistes like Hitesh Mehta and Kunal Ganjawala for a concert on Friday.
Meanwhile, Prabashee Association is celebrating its 36th year in Bangalore, and has something different to offer every year.
It uses 40 per cent of the funds collected during Durga puja and donations for social activities. “We conduct a social camp once every 35 days,” says Sukesh Majumdar, vice-president of the association.