On one hand, there is Maharashtra gearing up to welcome Bappa Moriya this September, whereas on the other hand we have West Bengal preparing for the home coming of Maa Durga this October. With the celebration season here, the weather has already started playing spoil sport. The artisans all over are busy giving the finishing touch to the Ganesha idols. The kids running from one house to other collecting funds for their puja pandals. Here, one part of the country is decking to celebrate the 10 day festival. The other part of the country rather another community in the eastern part of India is busying shop hopping. The state of West Bengal is ready for the “Pujo”, the Bengalis all over are going crazy. Yes!!! It’s time for the most awaited festivals for the community. The artists at Kumartuli are working hard to shape the clay into the powerful deity- Goddess Durga. The artisans from Kolkata are engrossed travelling to different parts of the country. The members of the Puja Committee have begun the collections and planning for the D-day. Every year, the idols find shade in different shape of Puja pandals. With the weather changes happening around, when the cloud downpour isn’t fixed. The committee members plan to protect the work of the artisans and peaceful stay of Maa Durga. It is that time of the year when the struggling artisans, shopkeepers, food stall owners make most of the money. The biggest celebration of the country, where West Bengal is enlightened along with the Bengali town of Delhi is also illuminated. Entering the month of September half of the labourers and artisans bagged themselves work in different categories and regions of India. Here, the Bengalis are busy shopping for the huge carnival scheduled this October. Listing some of the places where the Durga Puja festival preparations have struck the clock hard.Kumartuli
The artisans sweat for months in shaping and moulding clay. Every idol shaped here is unique in its own way. Every idol speaks volume about the power of spirituality. The artisans travel to the adjoining parts of Odisha, Jharkhand, and Delhi bringing life into the clay sculptures. Walking into the pandals admiring the beauty of the idol, getting eye-locked with the idol is the most common thing that has happened with almost everyone. The artisans of Kumartoli are the reason behind the divine beauty of the holy deity.
Image Source- thehindu.com
The festivity is accompanied by fun, frolic and food along with the spiritual connection. The Purohits and Pandits are busy scheduling the auspicious home coming of the Goddess. The puja committees are engrossed in the planning the big day when the people would eat, drink and enjoy sleepless nights in and around the puja pandals. The capital investment for building safe pandals for the Goddess as well as the spectators has been planned. The time of execution is nearing when the crowd would turn into crazy mob.
Image Source- sliceofreallife.com
Streets of Kolkata
Kolkata- the city of joy crossed all the boundaries of joy. The streets of Kolkata are always flocked with crowd. But this time of the year people flock the streets to shop till they drop. The puja bonanza and discounts hit the markets of Kolkata. One of the cheapest and fashionable destinations for the people smells of the fresh stock of textile and handloom works. From Espanlade to South City mall, none of the shops wear a deserted look. People travel in metro from Rabindra Sadan to Salt Lake engrossed in the crazy spree. It’s just September and Kolkata has already struck by the Puja fever. The families are busy shopping for the children, relatives and themselves. The girls confused in the streets of the “New Market” deciding between the Anarkali Suit and Palazzo pants. The gents are forced inside the trail room and the ladies waiting outside ready to decide between funky t-shirts or ethnic kurtas. Some of the men enjoy the famous Kolkata Kathi roll while their women get lost in the heap of saris ranging from silk to kota, tant to sambalpuri. It’s excitement that fills the spirit of the streets and shops of Kolkata.
Image Source- kolkatapictures.com
The labourers who work in building the pandals, dhakis, toy sellers etc. dream to earn huge amount from the puja fairs. They travel from their secluded villages to the towns with the hope of returning home along with some of amount of happiness and money. Artists and craftsmen work hard for months by making toys, jute items, bamboo furniture, pickles, ceramic cups, etc. These items are the ray of hope for their families, a ray of hope that would bring happiness for a period of time. The labourers work hard to bring together the themed shamiyanas, return home to celebrate Puja with family. They sweat in the sun and get drenched in rain to give the committee architectural satisfaction. The traditional dhol played during the auspicious days called dhak, played by the traditional drummers who are called the Dhakis. The Puja celebrations are incomplete without the beat of the dhaks at the pandals. The dhak and the shankh say it loud. Around several dhakis say 100 or so travel to Delhi from Malda and Medinipur bringing the spirit of celebration live. The cds and cassette recording doesn’t give goose bumps to the crowd, it is the beat of the dhak that rejuvenates the spirit of the Durga Puja. The dhak tune is different for every ritual such as chokhhu daan (eye presentation), patha bali (goat sacrifice), bisarjan (immersion ceremony), Sandhya arati (evening offerings), sandhipujan (worshipping at the conjunction of two phases of the day) and the dhaki keeps playing at every ritual.
Image Source- thehindubusinessline.com
Reader, Travel blogger and a Budding writer. She lives with a dream of becoming a world renowned writer one day.