Bangla beat in the heart of Delhi thumps to a century this year

  • Jatin Anand, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Aug 13, 2009 10:47 IST

Arguably the Capital's oldest Bengali association, Bengali Club's Delhi Durga Puja Samiti located at Kashmere Gate celebrates its centenary this year.

"Established in 1910, the club has strived to maintain the ethos of Bengali culture down the ages,” said Kamaleshwar Sen (78), the club's president.

“A manifestation of this has been the Kashmere Gate Puja which the club has been organising since 1909."

Associated with the Kashmere Gate Durga Puja for more than 60 years himself, Sen announced the centenary edition of the Delhi Durga Puja on Thursday.

"The five-day festival begins September 23 onwards and will draw participants from all over the Capital as well as from different generations," he said.

The programme will see a procession of more than 300 idols loaded onto trucks with devotees and traditional dhak (or drum beaters) showering petals at the heritage pandal (traditional bamboo structure where prayer is conducted) of the Durga pratima (idol) at Kashmere Gate before continuing to the Yamuna for immersion on the day of Dashami/Dusshera.

"The Sandhya Aarti (evening prayer) at Kashmere Gate will be the club's main attraction. We will attempt to relive the good old days as men dress in traditional dhotis and women in traditional red-bordered sarees."

"The carrier for the pratima will be the same bullock cart which the club has used to ferry the idol to the Yamuna's banks since 1909," added Sen.     

In addition, Sen has also conceived and designed a traditional 90-ft long "Thakur Dalan" (traditional enclosure for idols) to be placed at the pandal.

"Not many in Delhi have witnessed this unique corridor, which can often be seen in films featuring the Raj Baris (traditional Royal Palaces) of old Kolkata,” said MM Ghoshal, Chairman, Press and Publicity, Bengali Club.

“The overall art and design work is being executed by members since early May.”

 

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