It’s Durga Puja and like every bengali I can’t keep calm.
This is probably the only Indian festival celebrated across the globe with great pomp and fervour. Being a prabashi, it is always difficult to get in the mood of the celebrations as literally, you don’t get the feel until you the celebrations begins and you attempt to take yourself to the pandals around. As kid the feeling of Durga Puja was quite different. Read my fellow blogger Kuheli‘s post on lessons learnt as probashi bengali kid during Durga Pujo.
Surprisingly Durga Puja is celebrated every nook and corner of the world. From Muscat to Malaysia, from Aberdeen to Australia, from Uganda to Uruguay, the tradition of welcoming the goddess has been followed for years. Passing years are encouraging more and more bengalis to setup up their own Durga Puja pandals in their proximity. Though the origin has not been confirmed, it is believed that Durga Puja celebrations outside Bengal started in 1911 when the British moved their capital to New Delhi and many bengalis shifted their home too.
Prabashi Bengalis (people who have their roots in Bengal but have settled elsewhere) try to welcome the festivities a little different way.
Stories from Prabashi Bengalis around the world
“It’s an emotion… Pandal hopping, various eateries, new clothes… Everything is very much same like Kolkata based Bangali. Only difference for me in the count of pandals. That is also growing with every year.” – Mili Dutta, Pune
“Here in Hyderabad, most of us are generally attached to a “home” puja.. where at least our mornings (anjali, breakfast and bhog) are spent… though we visit other pandals too… mostly in the evenings based on their cultural programs and food stalls. First couple of years are tough as you do not know many people here… so you tend to visit Bengal during pujas.. after a few years you start feeling that you actually enjoy more here, and Kolkata trips become few and far between.” – Sabyasachi Ray Chaudhuri, Foodaholix
“Durga Puja for me is all about a power, an energy, an emotion called Ma. It has all the mercy of love and the unforgiveness of evil inscribed into the celebration. It is my childhood of immersions and my adulthood of faith.” – Vijay Marur, Somewhere in Space
If you are from Chennai, here is your Durga Pujo pandal guide
Here are the Durga Puja pandal list in Singapore
Here is my guide to approaching Durga Puja as a Prabashi bengali
Though these days, shopping is done around the year thanks to boom is e-commerce portals offering deals & offers. However, shopping for Durga Puja is always special to bengalis. They either go online or try to visit stores which have also started cashing on the festivities. Online portals like Amazon, Flipkart, PayTM, etc. everyone introduces shopping festivals to attract netizens for some festive indulgence. Ordering their favourite sarees & dresses to stylish punjabi or T-Shirts, matching jewellery or getting a new accessories everything are on the cards.
Since, most families have working couples and they hardly get time to venture out, many big gated communities across the country come up with in-house exhibition by vendors to get shopping done at the comfort of their home. Check out the event, Bangamela 2017, hosted by me at Aparna HillPark Avenues, Hyderabad
Looking your best
It may not be your marriage, but you can’t think of looking bad during these 5 days of festival. Irrespective of gender, they rush to their nearest parlor to touch up and prepare themselves to look their best (at least for the photo ops). Paromita (who have been a prabashi bengali for most of her growing up) writes from Kolkata how she meets her beauty goal for Durga Puja 2017 at Loccitane store just to be ready for the festive stress.
Getting your palate ready
Food anyday connects heart, mind & soul of bengalis throughout this festive season. Being a prabashi is more difficult since you don’t get a chance to eat bengali food throughout the year or don’t find the variety. While rest of India fast, bengalis eat their heart’s content during these 5 days. Hospitality industry have read that pulse and just prior to festive season, there are festivals serving bengali food and delicacies to make a bengalis go on an emotional high. In Hyderabad, Siesta Hitech recently hosted a Bengali Food Festival serving unlimited Hilsa and other delectable dishes to just give you a hint of the food you will cherish during Durga Puja. There stalls in Puja pandals are being opened up right from Chaturthi so that you don’t miss out a single day.
If you are in mood for some festive cooking, head to my friend, Shamik‘s blog tomorrow and try out his festive special recipes.
Getting information on Pujo
Unlike Kolkata, prabashi bengalis don’t get always get lucky to hit the pandal right in their own para. Many prabashi bengali welfare organisations collates such data and publishes them on website/social media in advance for the benefit of their members who are new to the city or looking for such information. If you are in Hyderabad, I have listed the details of many Sarbojonin Puja pandals hosted here.
Wish you a Subho Sashti… if you are a prabashi like me, get ready for the festivities and share your experience and thoughts on the comment below. See you again on Dashami to see how you and rest of the world celebrated Durga Puja outside their hometown.
Join four bloggers from four different parts of the country as they bring to you a kaleidoscope of festive fervour in the form of blog posts and videos for an entire week . We hope to entertain, inform and enthrall you in a quest to involve everyone in our moment of joy. I am happy to be one of the co-creators for this creative team called #bloggersdurgapujo
Team – #bloggersdurgapujo
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Head over to Shamik’s blog tomorrow (Wednesday, 27th September) for his post on Durga Puja, then to Kuheli’s blog (Thursday, 28th September) and then Paromita’s blog (Friday, 29th September) and return back to my blog (Saturday, 30th September)…
A week of Pujo related blogs on our #bloggersdurgapujo !!!
Will wait for your comments and feedback.