More than a cultural festival, Durga Puja is an emotion. It is homecoming. It is when your heart yearns to return home, irrespective of which part of the world you reside in.
It is when the air starts to smell differently. It is when your house-help asks for a Puja bonus in subtle, clever ways. It is when a father saves up all year to buy his children a new pair of shoes and clothes for pandal hopping. It is when streets are lined with chaat, puchka, fast food stalls, and you are spoiled with choices. It is when you finally get to catch up with people you haven’t seen all year. And if you are lucky, you may even find love.
Now less than 2 months left for the Pujo celebrations to kickstart in Kolkata, there is a lot of uncertainty around the religious carnival this year. Durga Puja 2020 news has already started doing the rounds and everyone in Bengal is grappling with the same question – “how will Durga Puja be organized in the middle of a pandemic!” Otherwise crowded and bubbling with life; Kumartuli, the famous potter’s colony on the banks of the river Hooghly in north Kolkata looks unusually quiet and deserted this year. As Kolkatans say, “it is, in fact, the crowd at Kumartuli that symbolizes the arrival of Maa in the state.”
Durga Puja 2020
This year has robbed us all of the joy of celebrating our favorite festivals. Like Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja 2020 in Kolkata too will be toned down in the interest of public safety. Pandals, this year, will avoid extravagant decorations and installments to keep the not-so-obedients indoors. This will be a year of simple celebrations, almost like going back in time centuries ago when Durga Puja was more of a family celebration than public.
Durga Puja 2020 dates start from 17th October to 25th October in West Bengal. Pandal committees in Kolkata have been considering various possibilities – some bizarre, some unrealistic – to contain the spread of the virus during the festival. Apart from the main Durga idol adorning an unusually simple pandal, don’t get your hopes high and step out looking for glorifying themes, exuberant decorations and craft and lights.
But not all hope is lost. This year, Durga Puja 2020 in West Bengal will focus more on the idols than the pandals. Since remunerations are less, smaller artists and local cottage industry will be preferred this year to keep the spirit of the festival alive and at the same time taking care of the livelihood of the worst affected in society.
And if you are still not convinced, this is exactly how Durga Puja was celebrated some 100 years ago. In the truest sense of the term, you can witness the actual Bengali Durga Puja without any modern versions of its celebration.
What I will miss this year
The 300-year old Shobhabazar Raj Bari, Maddox Square Park, and the Ballygunge Cultural Association are some of the places I would not add to my list this year. I will dearly miss the Mithai Bhog at the Raj Bari – a ritual offering to the Goddess with a life-size platter of sweets of all shapes, sizes, and flavors prepared specially by confectioners from the remote villages of Odisha. Sadly, my all-time favorite Dhunuchi Naach performance by the community women of Maddox Square Park will not be open this year.
Oh, 2020, what have you done!!
A quick getaway this year, maybe
Every year in Durga Puja, even before COVID upended our lives, some people like to get away from the crowds to enjoy a quieter Durga Puja. And this has its own charm too. Now that COVID will haunt us for a while now, a short trip on a long weekend during Durga Puja does not sound all that bad! It is safe, fun, and you get to finally be out in the open with friends and family.
So this Durga Puja, how about a road trip to the interesting places nearby which you wouldn’t otherwise get a chance to explore! What better way to make memories than travel? Let Savaari Car Rentals give you and your family a unique opportunity to make the festival extra special after months of self-isolation.
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