If you ask any Bengali, “What is so special about Durga Puja? Isn’t it similar to Mumbai’s Ganeshutsav or Diwali and Dussehra of North? ”, they will have a hearty laugh first or utter some Mishti Bengali Galis (Cuss words) and then ask you back “Are you mad? There is nothing similar to Durga Puja. Neither it’s gigantism nor it’s sheer madness আপনি কি পাগল হয়েছেন ? বাঙালির দূর্গা পূজার সঙ্গে কোনো উৎসব কেই তুলনা করতে পারবেন না | এর বিশালতা বা এর সাথে জুড়ে থাকা পাগলামো | কোনোটার-এ তুলনা নেই |”. Those 5 days are so refreshing and exhilarating! If you happen to visit Kolkata during the Puja time (for non-Bengalis) you will get an experience of life that you will cherish throughout your life. Be it Food, new clothes, beautiful women and all decked up men (some still love to wear traditional Dhuti Punjabi/ Kurta), the beat of Dhaks and melody shenais, new Bengali movies songs, or the evergreen culture of playing songs from newly released Cds & Disks. Durga Puja is not only the Puja Aradhana, Pushpanjali or Bhogs ভোগ, it is the time of First friendships, first loves, closure of all schools, colleges & offices (but the maximum traffic on road), long waiting for maa’s darshans and best of it “all innovative Pandals” giving an authentic theme to each and every puja.
Like Kolkata, the Twin city of Mumbai (Navi Mumbai) also hosts a huge crowd of Bongs (yeah that’s how they lovingly call Bengalis here). Hence, there are bound to be lots of Durgotsavs/ Durgapujas in and around Navi Mumbai. Vashi (oldest of Navi Mumbai) itself hosts around 5 -6 big Durga Pujas. NMBA – Vashi, Nerul, Kharghar have their individual pujas where each other try to be better than the others and inevitably brings out the best among themselves. There is a huge competition and Bengalis here love that war. Because more the merrier.
Like Kolkata in Navi Mumbai, particularly Belapur and Vashi nodes one can find huge swirling lines in front of Bengali Restaurants & sweetmeat shops like Iti Restaurant, Bong Adda or Sweet Bengal to name a few. Bengalis and their love for food increase tremendously during these 5 days.
These Year if you happen to visit this satellite city, do not forget to check out all the fantastic pandals in and around Navi Mumbai.
Jai ma Durga!!! জয় মা দূর্গা!!!