VIJAYAWADA: The 10-day Dasara festival will conclude today with several pandals and committees immersing Durga idols across Vijayawada. Several of these pandals were set up by the Bengalis in city. Durga puja, for them, is a blend of worship, food and cultural programmes.
One such committee is the Sarbojanin Durga Puja Committee which has been celebrating Durga Puja here for seven years. “Each year, we organise cultural and religious activities similar to those conducted in Kolkata. This year, to our surprise, many locals showed interest in participating in Bengali customs,” said the general secretary of the club Paresh Chatterjee.
The committee had organised dhaak and dhunuchi naach, where devotees danced in front of the idols with earthen pots filled with burning husk of coconut to celebrate Navami on Monday. They will conduct Vijaya Dasami Puja on Tuesday at Chand Kalyana Mandapam at 9 am.
“It has been 16 years now that I have shifted to Vijayawada. I have been attending the committee’s programmes every year and I haven’t missed my hometown even once,” said a Bengali migrant, Anirban Lahiri.
The police officials, however, brought forward a different picture, they stated that the number of pandals had decreased by a small number in the city. “Last year, we had 84 pandals, the number has come down to 76 this year,” a police officer on the condition of anonymity said. This seemed to be the result of rigorous efforts being made by authorities and environmentalists on spreading awareness about pollution levels in city due to such activities.
“We used to erect a pandal every year in Gandhi Nagar. But this year we have decided to organise puja at our homes,” said Anshuman Chowdhary, one of the pandal organisers.