Bandra Notunpally Durgotsav 2012
I am half Bong so have been going for Durga Pujo since childhood....the one in Bandra and Shivaji Park.Last year Finely Chopped wrote a beautiful piece on Notunpally and gave us a new perspective.I had no idea that Durga Pujo was the biggest festival for Bengalis.I spotted Samudra Sen,one of the organizers of the Pujo,thanks to the post.Mon Basu,I know for years and years.He used to be a pilot.He is in his eighties but you just can't guess that looking at his boundless energy and enthusiasm.He dresses in saffron robes for the Pujo.
This year,I learnt more about Kolkata Pujo through friends@Sushobhan and @Sudhakanago who posted pictures of all their Kolkata pandal-hopping.The pandals are usually made of cardboard,cloth or bamboo and there was one made on painted jute and pith, shaped as a 19th century mansion.You can see this and others in aqua theme and as a 1975 North Calcutta neighborhood on their Twitter accounts.
Finely Chopped is also in Kolkata and has us updated on his Parar Pujo and more.He will return to blog about Mumbai as well.Romi Purkayastha has written a lovely article on memories of Pujo.
This morning (the Maha Saptami) I went to Notunpally for the 11am Anjali.Bengalis fast till Anjali The ceremony involves taking flowers in your hand to offer the Goddess,reciting Sanskrit lines and praying three times.Nowadays,the flowers are put into little baskets after praying.Then the priest sprays holy water.
If you want to know more about the rituals and listen to the music,here's the link.
I was thrilled to see the dhak(drums) which Kaniska Chakraborty (@kaniskac) had told me about...these drums are played with two sticks in the morning to invoke the Goddess
The pandal was beautiful as you can see.....
At the entrance were many,many food stalls.Reminded of my conversation with @Dessertcart1 who told me about stalls with Soda Sikhanji and Masala Thums Up in a matti ka bhar and Reema Prakash @ScrollsNInk who spoke of the variety of vegetarian snacks available (paneer rolls,alur chop) inspite of Bengalis being predominantly nonvegetarian.
I picked up some Kasundi (Finely Chopped had introduced me to this lovely sharp mustard which has no comparison elsewhere in the world) Also got some Boras which are made of Dal and have to be added to curries.
Couldn't help looking at the lovely bangles on display.
Can't help thinking that the Social Media has brought us closer to our roots!