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Small in budget but big on heart

Durga is coming home and Delhi is set to play gracious host. And it is not just the better-known pandals of Chittarnajan Park in South Delhi or Kali Bari of Central city that are pulling out the welcome carpet, writes Shubhodeep Chakravarty.

delhi Updated: Sep 21, 2009 00:02 IST
Shubhodeep Chakravarty

Durga is coming home and Delhi is set to play gracious host. And it is not just the better-known pandals of Chittarnajan Park in South Delhi or Kali Bari of Central city that are pulling out the welcome carpet.

While established and well-known puja samitis of Kali Badi, Pocket 40 and B-Block are crowd pullers, several small community pujas organized in the vicinity offer a different and equally valuable experience.

The scale of the puja may not be the same but the block pujas are able to provide a homely ambience that worshippers relate to. This takes special relevance is the face of what temple-goers term the increasing commercialization of the committee pandals.

“The samiti pujas are becoming more commercial each year. Although there is no competition, we are glad that no one leaves our pandals disappointed,” says Arati Bhattacharjee, President of CR Park Poorvanchal Samiti (E Block). She adds that the each aspect of the six-day ceremony is followed intricately in the smaller pujas as well.

Durga puja has its roots in Bengal, Assam and Tripura, and the principal deity of the festival is the Goddess.

“The god and the ceremony is identical in each pandal but not the hospitality and the crowds. One can enjoy the real flavour of the festival only in the smaller pujas," says Ila Gupto, a resident of Mayur Vihar who stays with her relatives in CR Park during puja, each year.

The expenditure in these small pujas range from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh, a fraction of the budget of pujas in the big guns.