Dugga Elo! Tricity pandal-hoppers make the most of Pujo - Hindustan Times
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Dugga Elo! Tricity pandal-hoppers make the most of Pujo

BySubhashree Nanda
Oct 24, 2023 09:04 AM IST

Tricity transforms into a carnival of colors and lights for Durga Puja. Pandals offer traditional Bengali cuisine and non-Bengalis embrace Pujo motifs.

Get ready to ‘Pandal-monium’ — It’s that time of the year when tricity transforms into a giant carnival of colours, lights, and artistic brilliance. Durga Puja, one of the grand Hindu festivals, isn’t just about worshipping the Goddess; it’s also about a whirlwind adventure through the most extravagant and majestic pandals in town. We too embarked on a pandal-hopping extravaganza that promised to be a fantastic experience, a complete celebration with more than what meets the ‘eye’-dol!

A devayat playing the drums at Kali Bari, Sector 47, Chandigarh  (Photo: Ravi Kumar/HT)
A devayat playing the drums at Kali Bari, Sector 47, Chandigarh  (Photo: Ravi Kumar/HT)

Clockwise: Ghugni; kosha mangsho and luchi; egg chicken roll; bhetki fish fry; sondesh; lobongo lotika; chingri cutlet; and Kolkata puchka was being served at different stalls at pandals across tricity (Photos: Subhashree nanda/HT)
Clockwise: Ghugni; kosha mangsho and luchi; egg chicken roll; bhetki fish fry; sondesh; lobongo lotika; chingri cutlet; and Kolkata puchka was being served at different stalls at pandals across tricity (Photos: Subhashree nanda/HT)

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The pandals at Chandigarh’s Kali Bari, Sector 47; and Banga Bhawan, Sector 35 had stalls serving a wide array of traditional Bengali cuisine, especially street food like puchkas, mughlai parathas, egg rolls, chingri cutlets, bhetki fry, lobongo lotika, kosha mangsho and luchi, ghugni, to name a few.

Shantanu Chaterjee, who was running a puchka stall at Banga Bhawan, says the response is terrific. “People are enquiring if we plan to open an outlet or a food stall somewhere in the city as they miss food from back home. This is my second year putting up a stall here and all this is very encouraging.

Monalisa Roy, who was selling lobongo lotika at Kali Bari, said, “Over the years, I have developed a loyal customers base. I get orders all round the year, but Pujo season is special. This time of the year, I don’t take private orders as it dedicated to Maa Durga.”

Clockwise: A devotee praying at the pujo pandal at Banga Bhawan; a woman taking a look at Vriddhi’s stall; and a stall owner preparing fillings for egg rolls (Photos: Subhashree Nanda/HT)
Clockwise: A devotee praying at the pujo pandal at Banga Bhawan; a woman taking a look at Vriddhi’s stall; and a stall owner preparing fillings for egg rolls (Photos: Subhashree Nanda/HT)

For a cause

Vriddhi Educational and Welfare Society was running a stall at Banga Bhawan. Pranita Biswas, who quit her job as an educationist and founded Vriddhi, says, “All proceeds of this stall will go towards the welfare of children. Our charitable school is already doing some good work for kids of the underprivileged, especially children of daily wagers and domestic helps. The goal is to provide them quality education while also taking care of their emotional, nutritional and social needs.”

Author and poet Chetna Keer flaunting Pujo fervour in a Jamini Roy-motif saree, in the company of her cat, Bholi Punjabban; and (right) a devotee performing dhunuchi naach (Photos: Chetna Keer/Subhashree Nanda/HT)
Author and poet Chetna Keer flaunting Pujo fervour in a Jamini Roy-motif saree, in the company of her cat, Bholi Punjabban; and (right) a devotee performing dhunuchi naach (Photos: Chetna Keer/Subhashree Nanda/HT)

Embracing Pujo motifs

This season, the tricity area saw many non-Bengalis embrace the traditional motifs of Pujo. Many north Indians could be spotted at Pujo pandals draped in Laal Padh Shada sarees, jamdani, etc and adorned durga-motif jewellery.

“What better way to salute Shakti than draping a saree imprinted with the iconic Jamini Roy motif of Teen Deviyaan,” says novelist, columnist and poet Chetna Keer, adding, “This leitmotif of the three fabled faces of Indian womanhood — Goddesses Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswati — embodies my own life and work as an author.”

“Goddess Saraswati is embodied in the power of the pen, Durga is inherent in my novel, Garnets Under My Gulmohar’s protagonist Lollita’s social and ecological crusades for climate causes, and Lakshmi manifests herself in an author’s wealth of words and stories,” Chetna adds.

“This tant saree from Kolkata is my symbol not only for cross-cultural confluence but is also a flag-bearer for causes close to my heart as a saree connoisseur, such as #SupportWeavers to #Vocal4Handloom,” says the Punjabi saree-lover who was showcasing the united colours of Pujo, along with her cat, Bholi Punjabban.

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