Dhak, dhunuchi and more
HYDERABAD: The Bengali’s Durga Puja celebrations have commenced, and a significant highlight is the Shree Shree Hyderabad Bengalee Samity pandal, which has been an integral part of this festive tradition for an impressive 82 years. The essence of the Durga Puja celebrations lies in its portrayal of Bengali culture and tradition. To provide insight into the history of this celebration and what awaits attendees this year, we had the opportunity to speak with Biswajit Mukherjee, Joint Secretary.
Mukherjee elaborated on the significance of this event, saying, “This is the oldest puja mandap across Telangana and South India. We’ve been celebrating Durga Puja since 1942. Many Bengalis who migrated from Calcutta to Hyderabad found it challenging to stay connected with their Calcutta culture. In 1942, Dr B L Mukherjee initiated Durga Puja in Hyderabad, and it initially took the form of pot puja. This year marks the 82nd anniversary of our celebration.
We conduct daily pujas and bhog sessions for all devotees. As a socio-cultural event, we also feature artists from across the country. Local Bengali residents contribute with various dramas and music festivals. To stay connected with our cultural roots, we host a food festival, Anand Mela, featuring dishes like rasgulla, chamcham, chaaps, and more. The event spans five days, during which we seek blessings from our elders and bestow blessings upon the children. This year’s theme is ‘good health and peace.’”
Sudha Dutta, a Life Member of the Hyderabad Bengalee Samity, further shared, “We’ve initiated cultural events, including Anand Mela, where women prepare dishes at home and bring them here. Each day begins with morning puja, and in the evenings, we focus on cultural events.”
The event is grand in scale, with the Durga idol placed in a beautifully adorned mandap where people gather to offer prayers and seek blessings.
Additionally, a large stage is set up for various cultural performances. The Santhal community from Lala Paharer Desh presented their unique style of dance, complete with distinct music, rhythms, and beats. Their songs reflect their lives and daily struggles. Through this art form, they express their desires, happiness, and sorrows.