Bengalis are known to be foodies (বাঙালি মানেই খাদ্য রসিক). And this enthusiasm manifolds during the 4 days of Durga Puja. From Kathi Rolls to Kobiraji Cutlets, from Phuchka/ Panipuri/ Gol Gappa (ফুচকা ) to Jhal muri (ঝাল মুড়ি), from Biryani (বিরিয়ানি) to Chicken Ala kiev, from Chelo Kebab to Kosha Mansho (কষা মাংস) and Luchi (লুচি), from Dab Chingri (ডাব চিংড়ি) to Ilish Pathuri Bengali relish and savour everything during these days.
Durga puja without Pandal hopping is just impossible. In Kolkata, Darshanarthis ( people wanting to take darshan of goddesses Durga) stand in long queues to get a glimpse of their beloved Ma Durga. Kolkata never sleeps during these 4 days. Even at midnight or early dawn one can find thousands of people walking from pandals to pandals so that they don’t miss any Pandal or Ma Durga. Nowadays there is this new fad of having theme pujas where every pandal is created with various themes – some picked up from village interiors or some made solely from wastes, some using jute materials or some made with broken glass pieces or broken pieces of records. Every pandal is unique from others. The best part of this pandal hopping is that there are no age or gender discriminations. One can easily find ever elderly citizens also become part of the madness. How can one forget the gorgeous beauties or the fully decked men all wearing new clothes and new accessories from head to feet? Durga puja pandal hopping without new clothes and no show-offs just has no meaning. Selfies galore and so is foodgasm. Bongs ( Bengalis) are known to be food lovers and Durga puja justifies it completely. More on “Bengali’s food ” later.
Navi Mumbai resembles Kolkata in a lot of ways. This twin city of Mumbai hosts a humongous number of Bengali residents. One can understand their immense presence during these 5 days of puja. Everywhere one can see hundreds of Bengali ladies wearing Bengali cotton sarees “White sarees with red border” and visiting Durga puja Pandals or flocking around Bengali food joints like “Iti Restaurant – Vashi” or a “Bong Adda- Belapur”. Durgotsav is celebrated with same vigour and enthusiasm in Navi Mumbai. If you happen to be in Mumbai during Durga Puja, definitely you should not miss “Navi Mumbai Durga Puja”.