Durga Puja begins with full colors in Delhi…

Indranil Mutsuddi

Prologue: The Mahalaya Morning

“Bajlo tomar alor benu…

Matlo je bhubon…

Aaj prabhate se sur shune khule dinu mon,

Bajlo bajlo,

Bajlooooo tomar alor benu…”

Durga Puja Mandap at Nava Pally C.R. Park

It was another wee hour of the Mahalaya….The mesmerizing Mahishashura Mardini vandana was being played loudly from a residential complex in Chitta Ranjan Park, New Delhi. It was the favourite wake up call for all proud Bengali Soul, pay homage to the agomani (arrival) of the Eternal Mother!!!…Her “Agomani” (arrival) was also sculptured in the every bits of nature…with the Shuili Flowers all around in their sweetest fragrance, the Kash bushes around the banks of Yamuna and the cotton ball clouds in the blue autumn sky of Delhi….Durga Puja has come in full colors…

Durga Puja Mandap being erected at C.R. Park…

There was a brisk high geared approach among the people who were engaged in the pandel work of all the Puja mandaps in and around C.R. Park. The organizers were busy supervising the progress… “Bhai taratari koro..Pujo to eshei gelo (Brother Hurry up with your work..Puja have come)”…On the other hand…many households were gearing up for the special Mahalaya Breakfast with the traditional luchi, cholar dal, alu bhaja and begun bhaja…Tapan Babu was right there at the No.1 market for purchasing Rosogollas and Mishti Doi…his son is going to coming back today from states with his family for a two and half week Pujo vacation….

Durga Idol getting final touches at an idol workshop adjacent to C.R. Park Kali Temple

Officials of Chittaranjan Memorial Society had gathered to clean and decorate the entire premises of the Chittaranjan Bhawan. It was celebration time for all. Sutapa Devi and her family had travelled all the way from Rohini, North West Delhi to offer Puja at the C.R. Park Kali Mandir….Her eight year son was busy clicking the Durga idols at the Pratima workshop located to the left of the Kali Temple…Her husband was explaining their son how busy this entire complex would be during the Durga Puja…well after all this was the first Durga Puja of Sutapa Devi and her family in Delhi after her husband Mrinal got a transfer from Durgapur. On the other hand Tina and her brother Somjit had arrived with their driver kaku at the Sambhu Book stall to pick the Puja Barshiki copy of Anandamela…Mrs. Chatterjee had a plan to visit the Khadi Gramudyog outlet at Connaught Place to purchase a traditional kurta-pyjama, jacket for her father-in-law and a silk saree for her mother-in-law. It was so much fun and excitement around…This was the beginning of the celebration for all…Durga Puja is not only a mere Puja..it is a carnival and a true celebration of humanity and life…

Desh Bandhu Chittaranjan Bhawan, C.R. Park, New Delhi

THE PANCHAMI AFTERNOON

We could hardly resist ourselves from being at the C.R. Park on the Sunday, Panchami afternoon. There was so much Puja around us…Rohini Sector 11 this year was having two Pujas…the Poorva Samaj Puja Samiti and the other one in D Block Sarbojonin Durgostsav…

Rohini Sector 11 Poorva Samaj Puja Samiti Durga Puja

The Durga Puja Pandels in our locality were ready from the Saturday evening..we heard that the Poorva Samaj Puja Samiti would be organizing an Anandamela on the eve of Panchami to mark the beginning of Durga Puja.

Rohini Sector 11 Block D Durga Puja

Nava Pally Puja Samity Durgotsav, C.R. Park

We reached C.R. Park around 4 pm..we knew we were late..we dropped down near to the No. 1 Market opposite to the Ananda Publishers stall…Our destination was the Nava Palli Puja Samiti..

Nava Pally Durga Puja 2015

We were surprised to see that the preparations were hardly complete and there was a marked anxiety among the organizers who were literally pushing the decorators to complete their final work. The Durga idol has been inspired from the idols made by the artists from Bishnupur, West Bengal. The clay artists from Bishnupur had championed the terracota art through ages and had mesmerized the art loving people in our country and around the world with their out of the world creativity.

Navapally Puja Samity, C.R. Park Durgotsav

This year the organizers of Navapally had adopted Bengal’s Chal Chitra (Pot Shilpa or Pot Art) as the theme of their Durga Puja. The most amazing feat about the mandap decoration was that it was done exclusively by the youngsters of the locality who had worked day and night to put colors to the wonderful murals decorating the Puja Mandap. First a coating of mud was gently painted over jute panels…and with the help of two famous Bengali Potua artists the youngsters had brought the paintings alive with amazing brilliance.

Nava Pally Durga Pratima

The Puja Mandap is decorated by beautiful Chal Chitra and traditional Bengali Pot Paintings featuring mythological stories of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

Use of traditional Bengali Pot Art and Chal Chitra in Nava Pally Puja Mandap

Use of traditional Bengali Pot Art and Chal Chitra in Nava Pally Puja Mandap

The immortal story of Sati’s Dehatyag

The decoration of the Puja Mandap takes an elegant touch with the artistic use of earthen vessels frequently used in rural Bengal. The organizers had also erected a huge auditorium for cultural programs and competitions…The aura was nowhere less as compared to any Puja mandap in Kolkara.

A hoarding displaying the amazing efforts put in by the youngsters of Nava Pally Durgotsav Committee, C.R. Park

The tireless effort made by the youngsters of Nava Pally, C.R. Park Durga Puja are evident by a huge hoarding put for display by the organizers.

The B-385’s Durga Puja

Durga Puja is celebrated with full fan fare in families particularly in the B-Block, C.R. Park. Among them the Community Puja at B-385, C.R. Park is worth mentioning. It was a proud moment for team mytravelnama to be with them from the day of Panchami evening.

Ma Durga..on her way from C.R. Park’s Potuya Para to the Puja Mandap

The organizers had gathered at the Potuya workshop at C.R. Park Kali Bari with their family members. Devi Durga’s idol was taken to the Puja Mandap amidst the blow of conch, roll of dhak-dhols and uludhonni.

Durga Idol of B-385, C.R. Park..on the way to the Puja Mandap from Potuya Workshop at Kali Bari C.R. Park

MAHA SAPTAMI CELEBRATIONS IN C.R. PARK

We were back to C.R. Park early in the morning to celebrate Maha Saptami. We dropped down right in front of the gates of Greater Kailash II Durga Puja Mandap.

Greater Kailash II Durga Puja Mandap

The organizers of Greater Kailash II Durga Puja Committee had always maintained the tradition of a “Bonedi Bari Durga Puja Culture” in its Mandap decoration and idol design. Even in our earlier posts we had discussed marked similarity between Sova Bazar Rajbari Durgapuja in Kolkata and Greater Kailash II Durga Puja. This year also there was no exception.

Greater Kailash II Durgotsab 2015

The Rajbari type Mandap of Greater Kailash II Durgotsab 2015

We were fortunate enough to be part of the Saptami Anjali. Offering Anjali (floral prayers) on the day of Durga Puja had always been special for us, the Maha Saptami Anjali this year too was a memorable one.

Ma Durga…Greater Kailash II Durga Puja

Greater Kailash II Durga Puja 2015

The long queue of devotees for Maha Saptami Bhog… later in the day at Greater Kailash II Durga Puja

Co-operative Ground C.R. Park Durga Puja

The road from the Greater Kailash II Puja Mandap towards No 1 Market of C.R. Park had a pathetic traffic jam even so early in the day. We had no other option other than to walk down to the Co-operative Ground Puja Mandap which hardly a five minutes walk from the Greater Kailash II Puja. This year the organizers had brought the theme of Rural Bengal in its mandap. The mandap was designed in the form of a huge traditional earthen cottage (hut) that is frequently seen in the villages of Bengal.

The Co-operative Ground, C.R. Park Durga Puja Mandap

The Co-operative Ground, C.R. Park Durga Pratima

The entire Puja Mandap ground had so much resemblance with big Puja Mandaps of Kolkata. There were mouth watering food stalls every where including that of Bengal’s favorite Bijoli Grill. Food items like Moghlai Parota, Kosa Chicken, Fish Fry, Fish Cutlet, Kobiraji were being sold with great enthusiasm.

Food Stalls at the Co-operative Ground, C.R. Park Durga Puja

C.R. Park B Block Durgotsab

The Durgotsab of C.R. Park’s B Block had always been special for thousands of people from all corners of Delhi & NCR. The B Block Puja is popularly known as Chittaranjan Park Durga Puja Samity. The huge entrance gate and the grandeur of the Puja mandap speaks high of the magnitude of the Durga Puja celebration in the B Block.

The Chittaranjan Park Durga Puja Samity Puja Gate

The Chittaranjan Park Durga Puja Samity Puja

We were lucky enough to witness the Pancha Pradip aarti of Devi Durga, amidst drum rolls, conch and uludhhoni. People including us were excited with the extended round of drum rolls and “dhak-nritya” (Dhak Dance) performed by the dhak artists from Bengal. It was a treat to watch. This is where Bengali culture is great.

Dhak Dance performance by Dhak artists from Bengal

You cant think of Durga Puja without the roll of drums and dhaks. You cannot think of the Durga Puja without the “Dhunuchi Dance”. The tradition has been imbibed in our culture by our forefathers and had been inherited by generations from the glorious past.

Pancha Pradip aarti at the Chittaranjan Park B Block Durga Puja

Maha Saptami Celebrations at B-385

It was the privilege of mytravelnama to be once again associated with the family members of B-385 who had nicely organized Durga Puja in their house complex along with their neighbors. We had been with them on the Panchami evening and meeting the proud family on the day of Maha Saptami Puja was a great feeling.

Durga Puja of the residents of B-385, C.R. Park

It was a treat to see that the entire family and their neighbors had teamed up to organize a grand Puja. The family members had also ensured that the Maha Saptami Bhog prasad was distributed among every neighbor and passer by. Durga Puja was celebrated in ancient Bengal as a “Sarbojonik Festival” or a festival meant for goodness of the entire community.

Family members of C.R. Park B-385 in the Maha Saptami Bhog Prasad distribution ceremony

The Puja was meant to be celebrated as a festival of cultural assimilation or “mel-bandhan” among the people of the then Bengal which had inspired the entire Bengali community to achieve higher feats in their personal, family, societal as well National perspective. On the day of Maha Saptami we felt proud that the same sarbojonik melbandhan, culture and tradition was truly hosted by the residents and family members of C.R. Park’s B-385.

Maha Saptami at Hom Chowdhury Barir Durga Puja

It would be unfair if we omit the Durga Puja of the Hom Chowdhury family located at the B Block, C.R. Park. Like the B-385 family, the Hom Chowdhury family had been one of the true flag bearers of Bengali Culture and tradition. Their Puja was equally well organized in pomp and grandeur.

Hom Chowdhury Barir Durga Puja

After the B Block Puja Parikrama we called it off a day… We had an important engagement at the Connaught Place and had to push off. But it was for sure that we would have another exciting dayout and travelogoue for Maha Ashtami at the C.R. Park….

…..to be continued…

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Originally published at mytravelnama.com on October 20, 2015.