Durga puja in Bhopal: Subdued festivities, Bengalis to visit friends, relatives only to prevent corona spread

09:48 PM Oct 11, 2021 | Smita
A Durga Pandal in Bhopal

BHOPAL: The people belonging to Bengali community plan to celebrate Durga Puja by visiting houses of their relatives and friends instead of Kali Baris due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

They have also decided to visit non-Bengali Durga Puja Pandals in the city as there will be no grand cultural events at most Kali Baris due to pandemic-related restrictions. As Sindoor Khela is not being held at Kali Baris, they will hold it in small groups in colonies or with friends. 


Theatre artist Swastika Chakraborty said every year she spends a major part of her day at Kali Bari and watch cultural events held there. As there will be no cultural events this year, she will use the time to visit other Durga pandals including in BHEL, Habibganj, Purvanchal, Sundarvan (Lalghati), EME Centre and Arera Colony. “I will visit Kali Bari to offer ‘anjali’, and take ‘bhog’,” she added. The idea, she says, is to offer Anjali at one place and join the Aarti at another to avoid crowd. 


Swastika says that she will visit houses of Bengali families known to her. “Every year, we used to meet at Kali Bari. But this time, it won’t be possible. We may perform Sindoor Khela in small groups in colonies,” she says. 

Indira Bhaduri, 90-year-old mother-in-law of film actor Amitabh Bachchan said she will visit pandal at Kali Bari in TT Nagar to offer ‘anjali’. Bhaduri, who used to supervise preparation of Bhog at Kali Bari every year, won’t be doing it this time. “I am getting older,” she remarked citing the reason. 

Psychiatrist Dr Ruma Bhattacharya feels sad due to low key celebrations this year. Bengalis, she says, wait for Durga Puja for the whole year. “I procure Dhakai Jamdani and Tant sarees from Bengal for the festival. The saris are here but the festival is missing,” she said. Ruma said she used to join traditional Dhunuchi dance and Sindoor Khela at Kali Bari. “I will try to find out if Sindoor Khela or Dhunuchi dance is being held elsewhere in the city. If yes, I will be going there,” she says.  

Director of Parvarish - The Museum School, Shibani Ghosh, says she will go to Kali Bari for Anjuli Prodan and collect Bhog packet. She also plans to spend time with a small group of her friends there, visit non-Bengali Durga pandals, which are not crowded.

Ninad Adikari, 24, a Santoor player, said Puja celebrations will be minimalistic this year. “I plan to join my friends at some isolated place like a farmhouse,” he added.

Goddess arrives at Kali Bari

The five-day Durga Puja celebrations began at Kali Bari, TT Nagar on Shashti (Monday) with Ghatasthapana, Devi Bodhan Amantran and Adhibas. A 5-feet tall idol of Goddess Durga has been consecreted. On Saptami, Asthami and Navami (Tuesday-Thursday) Anjali Prodan and Bhog will be organised. Vijay Dashami Puja will perform on Friday. There will be no Dhunuchi dance and Sindoor Khela.

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