Durga Puja in Pune: Festive fun from folk dances to authentic Bengali food - Hindustan Times
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Durga Puja in Pune: Festive fun from folk dances to authentic Bengali food

ByPrachi Bari
Oct 01, 2022 11:25 PM IST

Durga Puja pandals across the city were illuminated and people thronged pandals as five days of festive fun began on Saturday, October 1 and will end on October 5

Durga Puja pandals across the city were illuminated and people thronged pandals as five days of festive fun began on Saturday, October 1 and will end on October 5.

Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta (blue jacket) at the Congress Bhavan Durga Puja pandal. (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)
Pune police commissioner Amitabh Gupta (blue jacket) at the Congress Bhavan Durga Puja pandal. (Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)

“Durga Puja is a five-day festival, though it begins on Mahalaya, the day of the arrival of goddess Durga on earth. The main celebrations typically start on the sixth day of this cycle, known as Shashthi,” said Dr Anupam Kashyapi who is a member of the 83-year-old Bangiya Sanskriti Samsad.

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This year there are 54 pandals across the city, with each having cultural events, live performances, competitions, contests and other exciting activities.

Bangiya Sanskriti Samsad will celebrate Durga Puja at the Congress Bhavan after two years.

Madhumita Ghosh, one of the organisers of Bangiya Sanskriti Samsad said, “People from all communities come together and enjoy the homecoming of Goddess Durga. Since we could not hold celebrations for the past two years, this year we are celebrating as close as it can be done to Kolkatta’s grand scale celebration.”

Oikyotan Bangiya Parishad has been celebrating the festival since 2011, and this year will be no different as grand celebrations will take place at Kapse Lawns. “The celebrations were subdued because of the pandemic. This year, over 50 Santhali villagers from Bengal are traveling to Pune to decorate the pandal and create an ambience with the rhythms of Dhamsa Madol and Santhali dance. First time in Pune, one can experience the Santhali culture, from rural Bengal. This year we are expecting at least 40 % increase in footfall as compared to 2019,” said Biswajit Saha, secretary of Oikyotan Bangiya Parishad.

Food is the essence of the Durga Puja for Anjan Chatterjee, founder and managing director of Speciality Restaurants Ltd, who has curated a festive menu that pays homage to the classics. “For the 4-5 days of Puja starting from Shasthi (the 6th day) to Bijoya Dashami (Dusshera), which is food, where the flavours tell you a story. From delicious fish fry, mochar chops, kosha mangsho to bhetki pathuri, food is the essence of everything.”

While the Kalibari or the Kali Temple at Khadki offers the devotees a traditional bhog for free every afternoon, the Anandam Association, at Salunkhe Vihar has organised Anandamela, where food and handicrafts stalls are set up.

This year, Paschim Pune Bangiya Parishad, Someshwarwadi Temple in Baner have integrated Bengali cultural and literary elements in their pandal decorations and festivities

At the Bengalee Association, Mauli garden Pune, there are exciting activities like the Dhunuchi dance, Shidurkhela and Shankh Dhwani competition, while the Kalyaninagar Durgotsav Samiti or Nandanik Durga Puja, Koregaon Park boasts of grandiose and beautiful decorations which people throng to admire and enjoy the food stalls, serving Kolkata street food, which includes authentic Kolkata biryani to fish fry and mutton roll.

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