Monday, October 6, 2008

The Festival of Calcutta

I am not the most religious person you will meet but when religious festivals are celebrated with such fervor as Durga Puja in Calcutta and Ganpati in Bombay, I cannot help but get swept in the tide.

Durga Puja has begun in Calcutta. One of the many joyful things it has brought with itself is one whole week of holidays from work!! How can one not love a festival that can compel even cold-blooded capitalist companies to submit to its stature?

There are pandals (tent-like structures inside which Goddess Durga’s idols are placed) or pujas all over the city. The idols are beautiful and awe-inspiring to say the least. The entire city is lit, not only areas where there are pujas. The big pujas are surrounded by food and games stalls. The big parks in the city also have rides such as the giant wheel, the pirate ship etc. that not only the kids but even the adults enjoy. The malls and theatres are empty, instead everyone is out revelling on the streets, irrespective of which community and social strata they belong to. It’s clean fun…no rowdy men throwing colors at you or groping you.

Durga Puja in Calcutta is all about food and people roaming the streets all dressed up and having fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some pics of Durga idols. So until the next post, Happy Pujo everyone!!

5 comments:

saakshi said...
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The knife said...

Oh I so miss Durga Puja in calcutta. Specially during the wonder years. I felt so bad during My first Durga Puja in Bombay when I went alone to the Bandra Puja. I was almost in tears. Since then I have tried to go back every year and have manged in most. Though it is a different world for me now versus when I had grown up. But I have still gone ahead and said in a post that is THE time to be in Calcutta. So dive in Scarlett and have the time of your life http://farawaydiaries.blogspot.com/2008/09/cinema-paradiso-in-bengali-kolkata.html

Nirav said...

A word of caution - It's not always clean fun! Obv, it's much better than holi, etc, but I've witnessed things turn nasty as well

Scarlett said...

@ The Knife - It's amazing the number of people that are out on the streets all decked up. The city itself is so pretty with lighting...so many food stalls! People are out till 5 in the morning!! I myself came back at 5 last night...we went to Maddox Square...LOL...then Deshapriya Park, then 'adda' at a friend's place. We had such great fun!! I must admit I like Durga Puja better than Ganpati. You don't see people revelling on the streets during Ganpati. They go for 'darshan' then go back home. But here, people from all social strata are out on the streets having fun. I'm enjoying Pujo for sure :)

@ Nirav - Yeah I can imagine it getting unpleasant at times with the crowds on the streets. But it's been fun so far for me...we don't throw ourselves into the crowd at pandals. We're not really pandal-hopping...just hanging out with friends.

The knife said...

one of our biggest highs during pujas were the night outs. Another difference with Ganpathi is that one part of the city celbrates it while everyone else gnashes their teeth Yes Nirav my wife did report unpleasant incidences when she went out pandal hopping with me