At the Bengal Club at Shivaji Park, devotees will dance to the beats of traditional dhaakis (drums) instead of popular Bollywood tracks during the immersion procession of the Durga idol on Thursday, the day of Mahadashami.
With four drummers and no loud speakers, the club hopes to do its bit to not inconvenience local residents with loud noise.
“The immersion is a solemn affair as it marks the end of five days of celebrations. We give Ma Durga a traditional farewell by organising rituals that are practiced back in West Bengal,” said Prasoon Rakshit from the Bengal Club. Even members of Bombay Durga Bari Samiti in Tejpal Hall will be hosting a “non-fussy” immersion without loudspeakers.
On Thursday morning, pandals across the city will celebrate the ‘Sindoor Utsav’, wherein married women from Bengali households will play with red vermilion, praying for their husbands’ long lives. “We will be wearing traditional Bengal saris (red and white) and pray to Ma Durga for a long married life,” said Seema Bhattacharya, 52, who will take part in the Durga Puja festivities organised by the Juhu Welfare Association.
At Parel Durga Utsav Committee, the Sindoor Utsav will be followed by an hour-long puja and pushpanjali, in which devotees will offer flowers to the deity and seek final blessings before the immersion procession commences.
This year, security remains the biggest concern for city pandals post the July 13 blasts in Mumbai. “During the procession, we will have private guards and pandal volunteers who will help the police in dealing with the crowd and traffic. We are also making arrangements for ambulances and trucks to carry refreshments and food,” said Saurabh Mitra, Powai Bengali Welfare Association. “It takes more than six hours for the procession to reach the immersion spot. We have to make sure arrangements are made to deal with emergencies,” he added.
On Wednesday, city pandals brought in Mahanavami (the fourth day of the Durga Puja celebrations) with cultural programmes and rituals. “More than 3,000 devotees participated in the day-long celebration,” said Rakesh Ash, member of the Parel Durga Utsav Committee.