Thursday, 9 October, 2008

Durga Pujo in New Delhi 2008

Durga Pujo 2008, New Delhi. Durga pujo is the most important celebration of the bengalis. Most important is the point to be noted since we have a festival or two every month. There is a saying in bengali "baro maash ee tero parbon" (thirteen festivals in twelve months) and out of all these festivals durga pujo is the most grandest. We believe that ma durga is coming to visit her parents. She comes on sasthi or the sixth day and brings along her four children. On the tenth day she goes home with her children. We dunk those beautiful idols which are made over a period of six months in the tributary and feel sad and forlon till the next year when ma comes to visit us again.
Preparation of the festival begins just as soon as the current one ends. On rakhi purnima potters go to pick up clay from Hoogly's bank which is what Ganga is called in Bengal and start the work of creating these idols.
Bengalis give gifts (read new clothes) to families and friends before the pujo. The norm is that during the pujo days from sasti to dashomi everyone wears new clothes, a fresh change for each part of the day and also new shoes. So a very common sight in Kolkata during these days are people wearing new clothes and limping badly :)

Saptami or the seventh day of the nine auspicious days...second day of Bengali durga pujo. This photograph is taken in Kashmiri Gate pujo which is in old Delhi. This year the pujo celebrated 99th year and is gearing up for its 100th year celebration next year. This pujo is held in the compound of a school building. They distribute khichuri and payash in the afternoon as bhog which is very delicious. Also you get Kolkata style (read Bijali Grill) type biriyani and chap in the eating stalls which is just awesome.

C.R. Park B Block pujo on ashtami or eighth day morning when anjali is going on. The crowd gather are giving anjali. Bengalis fast in the morning, wear new clothes and come and offer group prayer to ma durga with flowers. The prayer is done three times with flowers accompanied by mantra and the last time just the mantra. Then they eat prasad and break their fast. Anjalis start from 9/9.30 in the morning and go on till mid morning. Anjalis happen from sasthi till dashami or the tenth day morning.
Magic show going on in B block pujo. In Delhi cultural functions are held. The cultural functions used to start from panchami or the fifth day and almost everyone get chance. So the on the fifth day kids would perform, antaksharis would be held etc. Then with the beginning of serious celebrations artists from all over the country espcially Kolkata and sometimes even Bangladesh would be invited. Early slots were not so famous ones but as nights progressed famous artisits statrted performing. I remember one pujo maybe 2002 or 2003, my cousins and me, we chased Usha Uttuph all over pandals in Delhi. I have heard bands like Indian ocean and Euphoria in pujo pandals. But over the years due to security reasons organizers are being forced to cut down on these and not bring in high profile artisits to performance.

Announcement of some of the fun things happening during pujo days in B block.

Greater Khailash 2 durga pujo during asthami/eighth day evening aarati.

Chandelier in the GK 2 pujo pandal.

C R Park B block again. Ma durga with her two children Lakshmi-- the goddess of wealth and Kartik-- the god of good looks. Lakshmi is accompanied by her special pet owl and kartik with peacock.

Ma with other two children Saraswati-- the goddess of knowledge and Ganesh-- the god of wisdome. Saraswati is accompanied by her special pet swan while ganesh has his mouse.

Preparation of Sandhipujo. This is the time when we believe that Ma had killed ashur or demon and triumphed over evil. Ma has ten hands and each hand holds a special weapon and she is helped in her fight by her special pet the lion.

Mounted police on asthami night to control crown. But this year because the pujo dates fell on weekdays and also due to bomb scare the crowd was not that thick.

Inside of the B block pujo tent.

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