With a wide variety of Bengali food, songs and Durga pandals, the Silicon City of India has the distinct flavour of Durga Pooja.
Bangalore, which is home to about 4 lakh Bengalis, is all geared up for the puja, the biggest festival of the Bengalis. The pooja was held at 50 places in the city on Tuesday.
Bengalee Association, Ulsoor, has set up a pandal at Gayathri Vihar, Palace Grounds. Dilip Maitra, vice-president of the association, said 15,000-20,000 people visit the pandal every day.
He said this time, the food court would have 35 stalls, mainly offering Bengali dishes. He said the organisers had invited Baul singers from West Bengal to perform in the city. Beginning Sunday, cultural programmes will be held every evening.
The associations have planned the five-day celebration well in advance. Take Jayamahal Durga Puja, one of the oldest in the city, for example.
Himadri Nandi, secretary of Jayamahal Bengali Association, informed that the Ashtami aarti would be performed by priests of Bharat Sevashram Sangha. They have invited a Bengali band, Cactus, to perform on Saptami (Monday ).
On Dasami (Thursday), they will have a get-together of the association members.
Sculpting the celebrations
These days, Tarun Pal, 52, is busy giving finishing touches to the Durga idols. Thirty-three years ago, he used to come to Bangalore with his father to sculpt idols. Like old times, Pal continues to come to the Garden City in June every year with his team of workers to make idols of goddess Durga.
Tarun says his father, Sudhir Pal, now 86 years old, was the first artisan to come to Bangalore from Kumartuli, a town famous for sculptures.
Their idols are in demand not only in Bangalore but in neighbouring districts too. Pal and his team has made a set of Durga idols for Jindal Company in Bellary district and another for Tiptur in Vellore.
Besides Durga idols, this year, his team has received six orders to make idols of Ma Sherawali. The demand has come from the associations of Marathis, Biharis and people from Uttar Pradesh who want the idols to celebrate Navaratri.