Durga Puja 2021: Virtual or physical pandal hopping, celebs take their pick
The essence of Durga Puja is the pandal hopping, with the rhythmic beats of the dhaak in the background, partaking in pushpanjali, bhog, and other Durga Pujo shenanigans. But with the pandemic, things changed and just like other things that have gone digital, many have resorted to virtual pandal hopping since last year. We talk to some Bengali celebs who celebrate the festival with full gusto every year and ask them which form of pandal hopping are they going to opt for in 2021.
I was definitely looking forward to some real in- person Pandal hopping with my family this year. I’m a traditional old school Bengali woman so I will just visit Kali Bari ( Kali temple) for the Pujo as it has been a family custom for years. And I will save the pandal hopping for next year hopefully.
This year lukily my sister is here and my parents are here so I will spend time with them at home. I will also get to see a lot of pandals because I will be inaugurating a few. So I get to see all the pandals in Kolkata while working . I don’t have to go on my own to see them, so that way I consider myself lucky. Of course spend the rest of the time at home and take my parents out for lunch and dinner and spend quality at home when I am not inaugurating the pandals.
I miss celebrating Durga Puja a lot. I used to meet all my family members during this time both from my mother’s side as well as father’s side. But now, I haven’t met them for so long especially all the elder members of the family as they are at high risk so couldn’t meet them. I will celebrate Durga Puja this year by making paayesh, kosha mangsho at home… my favourite delicacies that I enjoy the most during Durga Pujo. We have our family members Durga Puja in Delhi so will be just going live with them and will be part of all the rituals virtually.
I think the situation is such that we can’t let our guards down. Durga Puja is an important festival and of course we all like to celebrate it. But even this year I will skip going to pandals. I will most likely take the virtual route to pandal hopping. I have old parents at home and their safety is paramount. I request everyone to celebrate keeping all precautions in mind.
Going to Durga Puja pandals have been completely reversed since last year. Ever since the pandemic hot, things have gone for a toss, that fervor , zest and enthusiasm will not be seen this year , last year of course nothing happened. I don’t think people will crowd pandals so much this year. I am working this year. I will try and got to a pandal this year and take my daughter along.
It’s the second year of pandemic. Even last year we weren’t really able to celebrate any of the festivals but I guess it’s okay. Staying safe and healthy is way more important and the pandemic is not over yet so I will definitely stick to virtual pandal hopping. Speaking to family on video and spending quality time at home eating good food and desserts.
Jaan Kumar Sanu
Every year I look forward to Durga Puja and go pandal hopping and we play host to the people and we have our own committee in North Bombay. This is my first Durga Puja since the pandemic because last year I was on a reality TV show, so I could not celebrate. I am looking forward to celebrating this year. It will be a limited affair with few people but yes I am going to be physical present in the pandals.