Is that time of the year when not a single Bengali can keep calm. It’s Durga Puja time. Durga Puja is not just festival where you worship the goddess, it is a way of life for a Bengali. It is quite well known now that a Bengali always starts his years by marking the dates of Durga puja that year! It is that deep rooted in the minds and souls of Bengalis.

The number of ‘probashi bangali’, as we call it in Bengali, or the Bengalis staying away from Bengal is extremely high. Blame it on the state governments apathy towards growth, industries – that calls for a separate post altogether. Wherever you go, in whichever country you go you will find a good population of Bengalis settled. That by default means there will be a Durga Puja celebration during October – even if it is highly modified and customized according to their lives in those countries.

My Facebook timeline is now filled with the Durga Puja celebrations in places like Utah, Melbourne, New Jersey, Cincinnati, London etc. You will in fact find it really funny that these highly customized puja celebrations takes place over the weekend and is over within that. So even before the actual Dussehra, they finish up with sindur khela. You can’t blame anyone, the weekends are your only friends to celebrate your own festivals in a foreign land.

I left my hometown in 2007 and since then I am settled in Bangalore. The second highest population in Bangalore I guess are the Bengalis. There are at least some twenty pujas that are celebrated across Bangalore. So I still have some places to visit and regale in the festive fun.

This will be Bluey’s second Durga Puja, last year he was two and half months this time. We didn’t take him out though. I was in Kolkata during the pujas after almost 9 years. This also reminds me, how easy it was to dress him up when he was 2-3 month old. Now he has a mind of his own – can’t make him sit still for a minute, forget dressing him up.

Did I mention earlier, we used to have Durga Puja at our home. My ancestors were zamindars in East Bengal way before partition or the existence of East Pakistan or the current Bangladesh. They had this huge Durga Temple in their courtyard which was one of the biggest in the district (or whatever was the demarcation that time of Dakha, actually it was called Dacca that time). Then after partition the family scattered, they lost their land, men, wealth – all that happens when you are caught in riots and displacement. Actually I can even do a series of posts on my ancestral heritage – they have wonderful tales and legends. Let me know if you will like it.

My dad’s generation re-started this ‘Dewan Barir Durgothsav’ again in Kolkkata in the year 1997. Did you ask why Dewan when I am a Basu? Ancestors were the Dewans in the kingdom of Gaur ( I am talking about the Mughal era – yes that old ancestral history). So that Dewan title that was awarded became the name of the zamindari family.

We celebrated the ‘Dewan Barir Durgothsav’ at our house in Kolkata for a few years but then another displacement of our generation away from Kolkata meant all that coming to a halt. And as I am typing al of this I can remember clearly our enthusiasm in decorations and the festival – miss the barir pujo.

Durga Puja actually starts tomorrow 7th October – which is the sixth day of the Puja. I am thinking of doing a Durga Puja series since I am writing every day this month. What say?

I just hope I can pass on some of these knowledge of our culture that I have seen and learnt to Bluey. He will never know what barir Durga Pujo is (family Durga Puja celebrations) or he won’t even know what are the significance of the days, the rituals, why she holds the weapons, the stories behind. But I hope he will learn some bit of our culture.

If you are interested in visiting some Durga Pujas in Bangalore here is the list of Pujas and their addresses. Since it is a weekend you are going to enjoy it, I am sure.

I am taking part in the Ultimate Blogging Challenge, 31 Days of Marathon Blogging with Daily Chatter. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram to stay updated with #TinaWrites and #TinasBongConnection


11 Comments on Durga Puja and Bengalis

  1. Rajlakshmi
    October 7, 2016 at 2:55 am (3 years ago)

    It’s been long since I have visited a Durga Pooja pandal. The festival is really big in Assam too and you can see so many statues of the goddess erected during the 10 day festival. Bluey will learn to, if you keep telling him all the stories. Have fun and happy durga pooja

  2. Ramya Rao
    October 7, 2016 at 6:28 am (3 years ago)

    Wow. This is such a beautiful post,Tina. You told so many things about Durga Puja that I never knew and I hope to know more in the coming posts. Have a great festive season and I am using the list that you shared. Thank you. 🙂
    Ramya Rao recently posted…Infertility-Breaking The TabooMy Profile

  3. Nabanita Dhar
    October 7, 2016 at 7:31 am (3 years ago)

    Well, what can I say about Durga Pujas. For a Bengali, it is the biggest festival of the year and we look forward to it more than anything else, I suppose. I’m going home today for Pujas, couldn’t go last year as I was too pregnant to travel. Can’t wait to go and this will be M’s first Puja so more excited 🙂

  4. Deepa
    October 7, 2016 at 10:31 am (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the list Tina..I am actually planning to take my girls to some of these. Nice informative post.
    Deepa recently posted…By: DeepagandhiMy Profile

  5. Vishal Bheeroo
    October 7, 2016 at 2:54 pm (3 years ago)

    Hey Tina would love to read series of posts on your ancestors and this post is rich with knowledge on Durga Puja. Glad to see that you celebrate at home. Despite being non Bengalis, we also celebrate Durga Puja at home and Mom makes it a point always.

    Keep writing/

  6. Mayuri Nidigallu
    October 7, 2016 at 8:01 pm (3 years ago)

    I love Pujo time! And I loved reading your post How wonderful it must have been to have a Pujo celebration in your Bari.
    Thanks for sharing the list of the Pandals in Bangalore, I hope to visit a few this year.

  7. Subha Rajagopal
    October 7, 2016 at 9:43 pm (3 years ago)

    Durga pooja is always an interesting festival to witness!Good to read about it!Brings back so many memories when I celebrated with my Bengali friends


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