Hyderabad: For the Bengali community, probashi or otherwise, marking the dates of Durga puja with a ritualistic fervour is the first thing that one does after receiving a calendar for the new year. It also means that the probashi Bengali community (those who stay outside of West Bengal) must decide if they are planning to travel back to their hometowns for the pujas.
However, Hyderabad, home to a large Bengali population, has for long been celebrating Durga puja as the probashis, instead of travelling back prefer to stay back for the festival. And if Sunday morning was anything to go by, it is definitely one of the reasons why many in the probashi community prefer to stay back as pandal hopping in Kolkata can become a nightmare especially when people need to park their cars parked miles away from the pandal.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle after pushpanjali on Ashtami, Pratyush Tripathi said, “While I see friends fly back to their hometown for Durga puja, the city, which has been home to me for nearly a decade now, has its own special attraction during the festive season. The city may not match Kolkata’s grandeur, but the pandals in here provide a much more intimate feeling as the community are much more tightly-knit.”
Echoing similar views, Avishikta Banerjee said, “The huge crowds in the pandals of Kolkata make me feel claustrophobic. I don’t have to deal with that horrible feeling as the community fans out across the 13-odd pandals in the city. Moreover, friends, who currently stay in Bengaluru, take an overnight trip to Hyderabad to spend time with us. So, there’s hardly anything one misses out on.”
For a body such as Bangiya Sanskritik Sangha and Hyderabad Bangalee Samity, which have been organising Durga Puja in the city for over 50 years now, the pujas help Bengalis in the city to get acquainted and bond with fellow Bengalis. Moreover, events are held in the evening for the entire week to help people remain in touch with their culture.
Bangiya Sanskritik Sangha’s Atin Chaudhuri says, “In Kolkata, you can see fascinating and creative art in many pandals but in Hyderabad we stick to more conventional idols.”...