BENGALURU: Durga Puja time is always an exciting time - the festivities, gatherings, various cultural activities and food bring people together and build a sense of community. For Bengalis living outside Kolkata, a chance to visit the homeland and witness the festival in all its glory is not always possible.
Bringing a whole lot of the the Pujo feel to the city are various Bengali associations, who have started planning their celebrations in full swing. One of the largest and most popular pandals, the celebrations in BTM Layout by Bengalis in Bengaluru (BiB) try and always follow a new theme every year.
This year, they are hosting a ‘Gram Bangla’-themed celebration. Gram Bangla translates to Villages of Bengal, and the pandal will be seen decorated the traditional, ancestral way. Sudipta Dey, president of Bengalis in Bengaluru, says, “We thought we should celebrate the way Pujo is celebrated in people’s homes, so that the children who don’t get to see the traditional celebrations back home can experience it.”
Free Wi-Fi at this Green Pujo
The Sarjapura Outer Ring Road Bengali Association or SORBA, classify their celebrations into three categories - socio-cultural, literacy and philanthropic. They organise a six-day celebration, with a host of events keeping in mind the concept of good winning over evil.
This year will be their ninth year of celebrations, and is one of the largest in the city. The most interesting part of their celebrations is they use only eco-friendly products and go plastic-free, with a special emphasis on waste segregation. They partnered with NGO Kasa Muktha Bengaluruas for the event.For those wanting to Instagram, Tweet or Snapchat during the event, free Wi-Fi is also available.
The Assam Society of Bengaluru (ASoB) is organising their celebrations at the BBMP Ground in Sarjapur. ASoB, which was established in 1982, has worked towards bringing the Assamese and Kannada communities in the city together through various social and cultural initiatives, Durga Pujo being one of such initiative.
They celebrate this festival here in the traditional Assamese way. They have events such as Bihu, Dollu Kunitha, Shatriya, Yakshagana dance, a rock band and DJ. The society is also offering free meals as Prasadam to 1000+ people during the three-day celebration. The venue will be decorated in a theme north-east India theme.
Old is gold
The Socio-cultural Association, Indiranagar, has been organising pujo celebrations for the 48 years, and is the third oldest in the city, says Subhajyothi Banerjee from the group.
They don’t believe in changing up their ways too much, and have been hosting traditional festivities and activities each year.
The popularity of this particular event has grown so much that they had to move from their earlier location in Defence Colony Grounds to host the 14,000-15,000 people who attend on a daily basis.
The Kanakapura Road Bengali Association (KARBA) call their celebrations, in JP Nagar, ‘Amader Pujo’, which means that it is open to everyone. What is special about their celebration is a unique kind of dance, called Dhakiya. Dhakiya is a combination of Dandiya and the instrument Dhak, Sunit Maity of KARBA tells us.