This is the final post of the “Fun time of year” series. So Maa Durga’s visit to her parents is over and she has headed back to her home. My 3 days holidays are over and sadly I didn’t even start grading the answer sheets. But no regrets as I have a weekend ahead. So here is my post as a summary of Durga Pujo 2008. First I would like to share a wonderful video I found on You tube with same title as my post.
Now on Mahaashtami, Dad brought Bhog from our local pandal and we had that for lunch. Yummy! Bhog is the sacred food offering to Maa Durga which mainly consists of Khichdi (a dish made of rice and pulses) along with Ghant (mixed vegetables) and sweet items. This bhog is served only after the daily Durga Pooja and during lunch for 3-4 days of the festival. Its distributed freely to anyone asking for it irrespective of class, region and caste. I think this wonderful tradition evolved as Bengalis are major food buffs and our festival is incomplete without a hearty meal. Then in the evening we went pandal hopping. A pandal is a temporary structure made of bamboo, thermacol, cloth, and tarpaulin set up during Ganeshotsav or Durga Puja to worship them. Sadly only two pandals were playing some good old Bengali songs. Rest were playing the recent Hindi remixes which killed any feeling of awe or rather religious faith one may be experiencing in heart.
On our way we decided to visit a Navdurga pandal (non-Bengali one) too. To our shock we found there were tickets to see the Idol!! Last month my HoD had told us about his experience when he and his wife went for pandal hopping during Ganeshotasav. Most of the committees had enclosed the idol in the pandals they had set up and had ticket system to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha. Pimping of religion is touching new low levels. We decided we don’t want to participate in such a business and moved on. Depending on number of visitors, many pandals have different type of stalls in the surrounding area. Though Mahaashtami is supposed to be a non-veg free day and one should eat only wheat based food, at one pandal the aroma from the Biryani stalls entered my nose and I got one full plate parceled for dinner. My poor mom has given up on me and strongly believes that I was a lion in my earlier birth. My hometown is basically a township set up by SAIL. So it is divided into sectors. Hence the captions in the slide show given below. Move your mouse on the photos to see their captions.
One pandal had a surrounding huge field and the theme of the decorations in the field was Lord Krishna. I took a video of the area.
Here is a video of the traditional aarti of Ma Durga.
At almost every pandal, cultural functions like song, dance or play are performed from late evening to midnight. One such pandal had an orchestra. The singer was singing Bengali songs nicely but I couldn’t capture it on time. She was terrible in Hindi songs. Here is the video:-
Mahanavami was spent at home during the day and subjecting ourselves to the torture of Drona at theater in evening. Lastly as the custom goes in Bengalis, I wish my peers “Shubho Bijoya” and offer my “Bijoya Pronam” to those elder to me.
Related posts: Fun time of year Part 1