Mahalaya: only a glimpse of the festive times ahead!
Withthe beginning of Debi pakkhya or Mahalaya dawns on Kolkata and the rhythm of the dhak take over the pandals, big and small, it's time to celebrate the annual autumnal festival that Bengalis from all over the world love to celebrate-Durgapuja. It is also the first day of the Navaratras, the annual worship of the Goddess for North Indians–comprising 10 days of fasting, worship and jubilation.
The day begins pretty early for most, with a dip in the holy Ganges followed by tarpan, an offering to express gratefulness to one's ancestors. You could also wake upto the unmistakable voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra going through the annual radio-borne audio cast of Mahisasur Mardini, his perfectly pitched stotras and montage of devotional songs setting the tone for a festival that symbolizes the triumph of good over evil in so many ways. The week-long countdown to the Durga pujas has already begun.
If you are looking for a pre puja drive, get behind your wheels to see the last-minute preparations of one of Kolkata's most feted pujas at Sreebhumi Sporting Club. The puja, mentored by Trinamool Congress MLA Sujit Bose, will be flagged open by the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerje and the legendary footballer. Diego Maradona, is expected to grace the venue as well. The theme this year is based on Baahubali 2, the highest grossing Indian film this year. The lighting (by experts from Chandannagore) will focus on celebrity footballers while the Goddess will be traditional but housed in a big palace, completely in the Baahubali style. The poster for this puja has been created by eminent artist, Subrata Gangopadhyay. Speaking on the same, Sujit Bose said, "The Goddess will wear real gold ornaments which are inspired by the costumes and jewellery showcased in Baahubali 2".
Are you looking for some authentic Bengali cuisine? You can check out the special buffet at The Astor Hotel, (Kebab-e-Que) where signature dishes from the districts of Bengal awaits you. The menu consists of Chingri Malai Curry, Murshidabadi Matir Harir Kosha Mangsho, Piyaj Morich Morola Macher chochori, Dhakai Murgir roast, Eechorer Kalia, Mochar ghonto, Chanar Kofta curry and ends on a sweet note with Brownie Kheer Sandesh, for vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian foodies.
Can any holiday be perfect without its celluloid component? There are lots of releases scheduled at this time of the year but Srjit Mukherji's film, Yeti Obhijaan. So tighten your seat belts and let the magical times roll!