Mumbai: As the nation celebrates Navratri with West Bengal celebrating Maha Saptami, the Bengali fraternity in Mumbai is also filled with the enthusiasm as after a year long wait goddess Uma visits her maternal home.
he main focus of Bengal Club’s Durga puja at Shivaji Park in its 80th year will be on the elaborate religious rituals of the morning pujas and the grand evening aarti at which six dhakis (traditional drummers) from Kolkata will lead the music. The intoxicating drumbeats will provide the setting for the evening cultural programmes like the popular and fiercely contested dhunuchi dance and conch blowing competitions. Additionally, specially choreographed dances paying obeisance to the goddess by the club’s members will be performed every evening.
One of the reasons for this puja’s popularity is the club’s constant endeavour to showcase the tradition and culture of West Bengal through the decor of the pandal. Over the years, the pandal has depicted the ambience of a rich zamindar’s bungalow, a famous terracotta temple of Bishnupur, the famous Kaalighat temple of Kolkata, etc. This year, the pandal decor will bear a traditional look with a special walkway created to showcase the images and information associated with the Navdurga — the nine avataars of goddess Durga that are worshipped during the nine days of Navratri. All idols will be adorned in traditional benarasi sarees and dhotis.
The pandal is spread over 4,600 sq feet and will have wooden planked flooring to combat the threat of rains. The adjoining exhibition ground will house 40 stalls where a variety of Bengal’s cuisine, sweets, garments, handicrafts and other items will be on sale. Medical assistance will be close at hand in case of emergency.
The puja rituals scheduled to be performed on Ashatmi and Navami are expected to attract maximum number of devotees, as the auspicious Sandhi puja (performed at the conjunction of Ashtami and Navami), Kumari puja (the Goddess worshipped in the form of a girl child aged between 2 years and 10 years) and havan will be elaborately performed on that day. The traditional bhog, comprising Bengali khichdi and payesh, will be served on Saptami and Ashtami-Navami.
On Oct 22, Dussera the festivities will witness Sindur Utsav where married women first offer red sindur (vermillion) and sweets to the goddess and then apply sindur on each other’s foreheads as a sign of good omen.