Saturday, October 26, 2013

Durga puja pandal based on a library!

Durga idol 

A completely different concept for Durga puja pandal. The theme of this pandal in South Kolkata is a library and the idea is to promote reading. Quite an interesting concept indeed!

I wonder what will they come up with next?

My next post has some more interesting concepts from Durga puja 2013.

Entrance to the pandal
A small little hut in keeping
with the theme

Entrance to the pandal
Durga puja pandal with
books and guitar

Nicely done
A book rack
in the pandal

Durga puja
A popular Bengali poem

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Durga puja at one of the oldest residences in Bhawanipur, Kolkata

Durga Idol at
the Girish Mukherjee
Durga puja at the Girish Mukherjee house in Bahawnipur, Kolkata is over 100 years old.

This beautiful old house and the people have upheld the tradition of celebrating Durga puja in the same traditional way over the years. All members of the family get together for Durga puja, the sense of togetherness and the spirit of festivity in this household is infectious! And not to miss the dhakis who complete the whole picture by drumming in the beats of happiness.

Durga painting
Beautiful old house-
Girish Mukherjee bari
Bhawanipur, Kolkata

Entrance of the house
The family gets together
for the evening Durga arati
on Nabami

Durga Arati on Nabami
Dhakis with their
colourful drums

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Durga Puja 2013: Sandhi puja video

Goddess Durga
Today is the Maha Ashtami day of Durga puja, among other pujas on Ashtami, Sandhi puja happens to be quite a significant puja in Ashtami. Devi Durga is worshiped with 108 diyas, 108 lotus flowers and garlands made of hibiscus and leaves.

I managed to capture a part of the Sandhi puja today. Sandhi puja is supposed to be very significant because it is believed that Durga killed Chando and Mundo the two asuras at this time, and Durga is worshiped in her Chamunda form during Sandhi puja.

Most of the times, Sandhi puja happens around midnight or even later at night. It quite an experience to listen to mantras and the dhaks (drums) during that time of  the night when there is silence all around. Quite a spiritual experience actually!

This time though it was at 3.45pm in the afternoon.

Leaving you with this video, though this video is not very good, the sound of the drums and ambiance really makes it quite an experience. Happy pujas.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Durga Puja 2013

Durga idol
Santoshpur Lake Pally
Today is shasti, and Kolkata is so completely festive. The excitement begins from today! Officially Durga Puja for 2013 begins today but people have been pandal hopping since chaturthi!

So far I have seen just a few Durga puja pandals. I am sharing the pictures of two of my favourite Durga puja pandals so far.

The following set of pictures are from a Durga puja in Patuli in South Kolkata. It is called the Patuli club puja. The pandal is in the shape of a cage and there are birds in  the cage. Each idol is holding a dove, most likely to depict peace.

Patuli club durga puja 2013
Birds in the pandal

A beautiful peacock
Paintings on the pandal

Durga idol Patuli
club 2013
Decorations in the pandal

The below-mentioned pandal is again from South Kolkata, it is called the Santoshpur Lake Pally Durga puja. The pandal is in the shape of a flower and it looks so beautiful and real. The stigma of the flower is so well depicted too.

Santoshpur Lake Pally
Durga puja Pandal
The stigma of the

Decorations inside the
Durga pandal
Durga idol Santoshpur
Lake Pally 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Yummy Bengali Sweets & Snacks

Along with the festive season comes the yummy sweet and salty stuff that just can't be resisted, I have stopped bothering about gaining weight, I will think about it next year!

Taler Bora
Here are some more of my favourite home-made sweets and snacks for the festive season. You can also check out my earlier post on some of the lesser known Bengali home made sweets.

Taler bora: This Bengali sweet is made during Janmashtami. That is the time you can get a lot of ripe palm fruits in the market. It is actually easy to make. The tough and the messy part is squeezing out the juice from the plam fruit. Once that is done, it is pretty simple. Just mix refined flour, semolina, rice flour, grated cocunut and sugar to the juice. Some people like to add mashed bananas to the mix, but that really depends on you, if you want the banana flavour you can add it to the mix.

The mix prepared needs to be on the thicker side because small portions need to be deep fried.

The result is absolutely yummy, I love it. Some people find it a bit bitter perhaps but I find the flavour very yummy! It is actually off-season now, but I have frozen some of the palm juice and I am still enjoying taler bora, talk about greed!

Nimkis, Bengali snacks
Nimki: Another favourite of mine, a crispy and salted snack, Nimki, is something that gets prepared in many Bengali households during festivals.  Infact, Nimki and Narkoler naru (coconut laddus) are quite popular during Durga pujas. Nimkis are simple to make, you need maida (refined flour), flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, kalonji, water and oil. Kneading the whole mix into a dough and  rolling out the dough into thick parathas is the critical part. The rolled out parathas are then cut into small pieces, typically, rhombus shaped and deep fried. In order to make the nimkis crisp, you will need to add oil during kneading the dough.

Though none of these are healthy, I think it is okay to indulge in these sweet and salty nothings once in a while. What say you?