Durga Puja is almost here and we just cannot wait for it! Durga Puja or the Worshipping of Goddess Durga is a cultural Festival that is eagerly anticipated every year and more so this year as the Pujos have been granted the UNESCO tag of ‘intangible cultural heritage.” Durga Pujo evokes an emotional response in Kolkata and at this time of year we all assemble to enjoy the festivities regardless of race and community. The love for this Occasion can essentially be called a quintessential part of growing up in Kolkata!
This Autumnal Festival, although originally a Hindu Occasion, hasover the years, become a Community Celebration; what we call the‘Baroyari Puja’, that is, a group of people coming together andorganizing the event, have long since become tradition.
Take theBelgachhiya Sarbojonin Durgotsav Community for instance- like thename suggests, they are a community, who have been organizingDurga Puja for the last 95 years! They have been creating somemagic, especially since the last few years with their themed pandals!
This year, their theme is “Maya Mahal- The Palace of Illusions”; the entire planning, designing and execution was done by Subhrata Banerjee- the beholder of many Asian Paints Awards.The idol of Goddess Durga was prepared in his studio, and then brought to the pandal for the finishing touches. Although themed, Belgachhiya Sarbojonin Durgotsav Community has the unique ability to bring together the magic of their Themes and the Traditionality of the Durga Puja! They have a long list of awards under their belt, and receive thousands of visitors every puja. A giant TV screen showing the Live Telecast of the entire puja is also attached near the Belgchhiya Metro Station for everyone’s perusal!
Every member of their community actively take part in the rituals and have a schedule planned of who will be responsible for which part of the rituals!
And can you believe that Bijoy Agarwal, the Managing Directorof GTPL KCBPL, is their key benefactor- someone who has beenvery actively involved in the entire process of the Durga Puja-belongs to the Marwari Community!He had said,“We are so honored to sponsor our community Puja and to be part of the biggest festivities in our state. Each year, we plan the theme of the pandal carefully and involve the local community in designing and executing every inch of it. This makes everyone proud and happy to be part of the process which is appreciated by all those visiting pandal.”Both the Belgachhiya Sarbojonin Durgotsav Community and Mr. Agarwal believe in giving back to the society: The Community had provided relief to many a people during the Pandemic and had continued to do so even now; On 23rd September, they had visited a village in Tarapith, and donated blankets to 100 of the very needy! They also plan to donate Saree, Dhoti and Lungi to 100 people on the Auspicious eve of Maha Sasthi.
And on the occasion of Maha Navami, every one who visits the pandal, irrespective of their cast, creed, region, religion, are given bhog: Luchi, Halwa and a 200 ml water bottle.
This, I believe, is diversity at its finest- encompassing the entirety of Kolkata in the thrall of the Durga Puja and spreading the love!
Event: Durga Puja
Venue:Belgachhiya Sarbojonin Durgotsav Community
Date: 1st to 5th October, 2022