According to mythology, Shri Ramchandra had invoked the blessings of Goddess Durga as he was about to challenge the mighty King Ravana and ultimately won the battle. Every year in the season of autumn the Goddess is worshipped symbolising the victory of good over evil.
But for a Bengali, ‘Durgotsav’, or as the festival is called is not merely that. Bengalis perceive Uma as the daughter who comes down from Mount Kailash along with her children, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh, to visit her parents once every year. More than the omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent deity, Uma is welcomed as the much adored daughter.
For a Bengali it is a festival very close to his heart irrespective of whichever corner of the globe he may be in. As a resident of Navi Mumbai, we are lucky as there are quite a few clubs which celebrate the festival. Although there are no holidays as in West Bengal, the Bengali diaspora in Navi Mumbai celebrates Durgotsav with much enthusiasm and excitement.
This year also was no exception. In the mornings people gathered in the pandals and offered prayers to the Goddess and later partook of the community lunch or ‘bhog’, a very important attraction. In the evening started the pandal hopping. The beauty, imagination and the sheer artistry of each pandal was spellbinding and was a visual delight. All the nearby pandals were visited and the more enthusiastic ones also made trips across the town to Mumbai where Lokhandwala and Shivaki Park pujas were the main attractions. And if one was not eager to undertake the long drive, there was always a good program of songs to listen to. This year the famous singer Shaan enthralled the audience of Navi Mumbai with his melodious renditions.
This article would be incomplete without the mention of the gastronomical delights that awaited all the pandal hoppers. A wide array of food stalls offered a variety of cuisines to the food enthusiasts who thronged the stalls.
Thus like every year Durgotsav 2015 was a hugely enjoyed event with the Bengalis already eagerly looking forward to Durgotsav 2016.