Durga pandals, Dandiya nights, Bombe Utsava, it’s Dasara time for city

Bengalis, away from home, feel at home

Bengaluru: Bangaloreans are welcoming Dasara with warmth and fanfare. While the Bengalis have put up Durga puja pandals in many places, the North Indians have made elaborate preparations for Dandiya nights. Of course, there's the traditional Bombe Utsava, where dolls are arranged in homes as part of the Dasara celebrations.

Durga puja celebrations are no longer restricted to West Bengal. Bengalureans enjoy them too, as cultural activities and eastern food festivals take pride of place in the city. There are culinary contests, children's painting competitions and many more events lined up.

This year the people of Koramangala will see one of the largest Durga devi idols – 12 feet high and 8 feet broad. Brajo from the Sharathi socio cultural trust says, “It's going to be a carnival. The durga idol will be a showpiece this time and will be a treat for the people of Bengaluru. On September 29, we will have a bhajan rendered by 20-25 senior citizens and on September 30, the pooja pandal will be inaugurated by the Chief Justice of Karnataka."

The Bengali Association, which organises one of the biggest Durga Pujas on RBANMS Ground, not only in Bengaluru but throughout India in terms of size, budget and footfalls, has many activities in store as always. Dilip Maitra from the association says, “We have about 15000-20,000 people visiting each day on an average. People in Kolkatta queue up to see the puja and the decorations but here it is more of a social gathering. People come in the morning to take pushpanjali and leave after the prasadam that includes khichdi and sweets. They come again in the evenings and stay for at least 2-3 hours, hang around with friends and enjoy the cultural activities.”

There will be about 42 food stalls and 25 business promotion stalls in RBANMS ground this year. Singers from Mumbai, like Priyanka Mitra, singers from Kolkota like Shilpi Chakraborthy and Fakiri, a band that plays folk songs, will be the attraction this Navarathri.

This will be followed by Dandiya nights till 10.30 pm. Other Durga puja venues: J P Nagar and Indiragar. Shreyasi Majumdar, a regular, says, “The celebrations of Durga puja in Bengaluru make us feel like we're at home even if we cannot go home every year. They have arti, bhog, sindoor kela just like we have back home!"

Another traditional way of celebrating Dasara is Bombe Habba. Most traditional houses owned by Kannadigas turn into doll houses. Mahalaya Amavasya (Monday) is when the dolls are arranged and Navaratri (9-day) festivities start from the next day, culminating in Vijaya Dashami on the 10th day. Tradition dictates that the total number of planks or steps to display dolls should be in odd numbers (like 5,7, 9). The displays vary in theme from house to house from the elaborate, extravagant ones to the simple, traditional and artistic ones.
Chandrashekhar from Uttarahalli has been collecting dolls from various parts. Today he has approximately 2000 dolls in his house. He says, "Every year we arrange the dolls based on a theme. Once we did one on the subject of Mysore Dasara, this year the theme is on Shingari."

For Rishitha, it is all about good over evil. The dolls which are kept in her house narrate the tale. Rishitha arranges both deities and devils.

( Source : dc )
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