Skip to main content

Day 3 - Rishikesh

The weather looked gloomy with an overcast sky as we woke up. We had breakfast at the hotel and decided to visit Rishikesh today. Again we headed back the way we came yesterday and after crossing Rajaji National Park the road divides and one goes towards to Dehradun and one to Rishikesh. The drive was pleasant, as we opted Laxman  Jhula as our destination google map smartly took us via highway bypassing the main city.But at the end the roads started to get narrower lucky for us we found a parking lot packed yet as we early risers ;)
The weather was little cold compared to the planes of Dehradun with lots of breeze coming from Ganga. We walked to Laxman Jhula to cross it. Oh boy! We have no idea what local authority allows two-wheelers, cycle to cross the hanging bridge which is meant for a pedestrian. And top of it you even have some cows standing in the middle.
I am sure the people coming all the from abroad to Rishikesh for peace, meditation and self-purity do get a complete shock wi…

Durga Puja

Durga Puja is the most important and biggest festival in Bengal for any Bengali Hindu. Its five days of festivity where this Puja symbolizes good winning over evil. Maa Durga is considered as daughter of Bengalis. It is believed that every year she comes to visit her father’s home (earth) for five days with her four children - Kartik, Ganesh, Saraswati and Lakshmi- representing respectively the Protector, the Initiator of the puja, Knowledge and the Provider - signifies the complete manifestation of the goddess. while her husband (lord Shiva) stays in Kailash (heaven).This five days festivity actually starts from Mahalaya with chant of Roopam dehi, dhanam dehi, yasho dehi (give me beauty, give me wealth, give me fame...)across Bengal. The festive mood builds up with rhythm of Dhakis (drummers)

Her visits happened to be the best time for Bengali farmers. Weather is at best as the monsoon is just over and it is not yet winter. As there is no need for major work in the paddy fields everyone can be part of this religious ceremony. Rice grows with the blue sky and little white clouds. Well, now a days this weather and farmer scenario does not have any true meaning for most of city dwellers. As it is either too hot which can be called as “October Summer” or raining heavily from late arrival of monsoon.

Now a days it's more of commercialization. Pre-Puja bargain sales and exhibitions introduce the sartorial style for the coming year. Bengali newspapers and magazines publish special issues- platform for many budding author, besides the works by well-known writers. Music companies have a number of new discs and cassettes published in every Puja. Not only that trains to tourists spots get reserved months before puja. Bengalis in other cities in India visit their relatives in West Bengal. Even due to commercialisations decorations are very classy. There is big competition between associations who makes the best idol, best pandal decorations etc.

I remember going to Durga Puja on Weekends at San Francisco as every one is too busy with work during the week. So, Puja is held in weekend for every one's convineance. And to add a pinch of salt – it is held in two different weekends so that people can attend both the Puja celebration. While at Paris it was different as Puja is organized as per (tithi) date which sometimes made it difficult to attend.

The joke runs that if a couple of Bengalis get together, there will be surely three Durga Pujas! Well, Bombay goes way past that quorum. More then 22 Durga Pujas are held across the city. And here Bengalis celebrate their favourite puja with same zeal as that of their counterparts in Calcutta.

Being at Bombay, this year it was different after a long time as we celebrated it with my maternal uncle’s family. There was one local Puja next to our residence. We went at noon to offer (pushpanjali) obeisance. And once the offering to Goddess is over there is Prasad and bhog distribution - khichudi (mixed dish of rice and (dal) lentils which is served normally very hot (temperature) along with (baigun bhaja) aubergine fry, (labra) mixed vegetable, chutney and (payesh) rice caramel. There is a common ritual for Hindus offering and praying to God or Goddess in empty stomach. This created a bit of problem as hundreds of hungry people stands in queue to get prasad & bhog.


In the evening, normally there are cultural activities. Bengalis are known for their eating habits especially snacks and sweets. Lots of food stalls are set up near the pandal. Families will have their “Pet - Pujo” (Stomach – Worship) so that their wife gets a day off from kitchen. I am sure this sort of events unfold every corner of the world as Bengali celebrates Durga Puja. Not only this but also people start thronging pandal after pandal. Road blocks are quite common. Children getting lost are natural. Every bengali in their new dress, new shoes are quite commonly seen. As Durgotsav comes once a year – everyone wants it to make it as memorable as possible.



The special thing for this year was we enrolled ourself for visiting other Puja pandal in and around Bombay. The plan was there will be rented bus to take us to various corners of Bombay that way no need to drive and no hassles of parking. And you can take a nap in between if you can. Although trip was supposed to start at 10:30 PM and end by early morning next day. But we started around midnight IST (Indian Stretchable time) unfortunately that night it was raining heavily. By the time we reached Shivaji Park we found it resembles a paddy field with more then ankle deep water. But, we continued with umbrella and socked shoes and sandals till next morning.


Bengalis are quite (un)famous with their obsession for caffeine and nicotine; each stop was delayed by few members for their tea & cigarette break. Thank-God all the food-stalls were closed due to rain and late night other wise we had to wait longer.

With all these complaints it was a memorable night; hopefully we will not repeat it again next year as it was fun for once. Surely we were trashed next day and had lots of sleep to catch up.

Comments

Yogesh Goel said…
Hi,

I am Yogesh Goel, one from the Amar Durga Puja team. I am here to invite you to participate in the most unique initiative ever on the net on Ma Durga. We have a website AmarDurgaPuja.com and its totally user driven website. We want to bring Ma Durga to everyone's home. Even to people who can't be here during pujas. We want to make everyone feel at home and thats why this website.

Amar Durga Puja (ADP) is an attempt by FOURDY Group to take Durga Puja to the world by sharing information and photos to help everyone in experiencing the thrill of Durga Puja. To make this happen, we started www.amardurgapuja.com in 2009 as a photography competition which received an overwhelming response from the user of various countries like India, Bangladesh, United States, Australia, United Kingdom and many more who showed their love for the festival by submitting 1,000+ photographs within a span of 6 days – making it the largest Durga Puja gallery online. Later, this year we were also recognized by Spanish Magazine – Global Voices (www.globalvoices.org).

This is a pictorial and video website where users can submit their entire collection and make it seen to the world and also share them. we want to make it a hub which everyone can cherish for life.

Do visit and make urself a part of this greatest initiative ever.

our website address is-
http://www.amardurgapuja.com/

And our facebook page address is-
http://www.facebook.com/amardurgapuja

Hope to see u participating & contributing soon. Do not forget to tell about this to your friends too.

Take Care,
Be well,

Yogesh Goel
For,
Amar Durga Puja team
FOURDY Group

Popular posts from this blog

My baby shower

My baby shower was done in bengali traditional way which is called as Saadh in bengali. It is meant mostly to pamper first time mother to be and cheer her up as she accumulates courage to face the most testing time in her life which will soon change her life in and out. Normally, held in seventh or ninth month of pregnancy on a specified day when mother-in-law will organize this ceremony. She will invite all the women she knows. Thus this ceremony is mainly for women only. In our custom, M-i-l presents all the garments which mother-to-be wears at the ceremony. This occasion happens twice once from in-laws side is over then only my mom can have but because of my critical condition, from both sides were done on a single day in seventh month. Expected mother have to sit on the floor facing east and sometimes puja is also performed; but as I was medically unfit to sit for longer duration so certain rituals were curtailed. Alpana (with powdered rice) designs are usually drawn on the flo…

Tonsuring my baby’s head: Tirupati

Ever since from childhood heard about Tirupati but never had a chance till date or never understood why people use to grumble till they had darshan. May be god wanted me to experience the same. Few days back Santanu suddenly decided to visit before his upcoming hectic weeks at office. So it was kind of planned-unplanned trip. Why unplanned knowingly was....we didn't had any ticket in hands before starting the journey nor we had any references to make use of. As planned, we were to start early morning at 5 but when we woke up to the alarm ring I could hear tiny shards of crystals falling from the sky against leaves, trees and windows. I woke Santanu- he looked at the time, then towards the window and back to clock. The clock said it was 4.15am but it was dark outside. Bed was warm and comfortable so he puts again the alarm back for 5.00am. This time we both jumped out of bed with the alarm ring. We kept our things packed last night only so last minute final touch up was left with …

Bhat Suar

Every time I visit my in-laws and see one of these “Bhat Suar” (three-wheeler cart) on the road it brings back memories of my college days. Durg(in-law’s place) and Bhopal(college day) were part of same state 6 years back; although politically divided they are very similar to an outsider like me on social and geographical terms. First part of the name comes from the sound they make “Bhat-Bhat” and second part “suar which means pig”. The design varies from state to state and its mechanism is very simple and rigid for extreme conditions. Maintenance is simple - all you need to open the hood and fix it- no complicated electronics; only big mechanical parts. Before coming to Bhopal I have never seen these big yellow tempos (tutuk). Sometime they are the de-facto public transport in central India. Since in these areas, public bus service is inadequate or nil and a small auto for single person is expensive; They are very popular as they are engineered to accommodate around 12-15 people. M…