Monday for Bengalis in Pune might as well be without its blues as Durga Puja — the great autumnal worship of Ma Durga — starts. Following the trend in distant West Bengal, a majority of the pandals have started programmes from Sunday as Pune residents drove in large numbers to keep their tryst with the uniquely Bengali festival.
This year, more than 40 pujas are being organised in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad with each of the organisers arranging for cultural and culinary programmes for devotees.
This would be the 10th Durga Puja organised by Biswa Bharati — the cultural association of Bengalis in Moshi, Indrayaninagar. Prasenjit Bhattacharya, secretary, puja committee, said they have decided to emulate the fabled decorations from Chandannagar in West Bengal.
Clever use of illumination marks the pandal decorations in this suburban West Bengal city, which was a French colony in its initial years.
“Our artists have come from Chandannagar and the pandal, has been executed by skilled artists from Medinipur — another locality in West Bengal,” he said. The puja, which was inaugurated by Pimpri Chinchwad Mayor Rahul Jadhav on Sunday, also has an impressive lineup of cultural programmes. “Famous singers are coming here from Kolkata as well as local bands, who will perform during the four days of the puja,” he said. Located in the heart of the industrial belt of Pimpri-Chinchwad, this puja attracts many families who stay in and around the area
For the Agomoni Prabashi Sangh, this would be the first year of the puja. Rajesh Burman, general secretary, said they are expecting good footfall given the central location of the puja — in Baner near Sakaal Nagar. “While this is our first year, we have made some cardinal rules. Bhog prasad — the sacramental food offered to the Goddess — will be distributed free of cost on all the three major days of the puja,” he said.
Also, Amit Kumar, son of legendary singer Kishore Kumar, will perform on October 17. This puja will see performance by Bauls — folk minstrels — from West Bengal on October 18. Banga Bharati, the association of Bengalis in Pimpri, will be celebrating their 33rd puja this year. Along with the religious part, this year, the organisers have decided to focus on Hindi film music.