A mini-Kolkata in our humble neighbourhood.
Our area doesn’t boast of any overwhelming Bengali population. So it is a bit surprising yet very nice that a few years ago Kallol Kali Mandir was built here. A very neat and nice place of worship.
The locals are always regular at this place, but apart from them celebrities also often visit the temple. Our locality is flanked on both sides by stretches of areas with housing complexes where people from TV and music industry, character artists from movie industry reside. One can often see the show-biz people visiting the Kali temple. But that is beside the point.
It is Durga Puja time and like each year Kallol is celebrating the festival in all its grandeur.
The Pandal is decorated to the T. The main deity, Mahishasur Mardini shines in all her splendour, along with Ganapati and other deities.
Starting from Panchami the Puja festival goes upto Vijaya Dashami and even beyond that – Bodhon, Kalparambha Puja, the Saptami Puja on the third day and Dhanuchi dance in the evening. Maha Ashtami Puja, Kumari Pujan on Navami – all the traditions are followed witt reverence. Kojagari Lakshmi Puja is held four days after Dashami.
The Entrance of Puja Pandal
Beautifully decorated Pandal
Mahishasur Mardini and other deities
Everyday Bhog or Prashad is distribute and people wait in long queues to enjoy the steaming rice and vegetable preparation served in big leaf bowls.
Quite a number of stalls are erected around the temple and the Puja Pandal. A long row of stalls is especially reserved only for food specialties from Kolkata. An article in a leading daily gave the food specialty of each famous Pandal around Mumbai. The famed Kolkata Roll was mentioned as the specialty of this particular Puja Pandal.
Food stalls serving Kolkata specialties
Mention of food brings to mind: Many people fast during Navaratri, eat one meal or only milk and fruit; the Durga Puja devotees do have their days of fast, of course, but they also relish mutton rolls, maangsho baat, cutlets etc. – such is the beauty of India’s cultural diversity.
The other stalls display traditional Bengali things like Sindoor, the conch bangle Shakha and pola, Alta etc. But of course, most of the crowd – especially women – throng the stalls of exquisite Kolkata Sarees.
The irresistible Kolkata Sarees
As I said, a mini-Kolkata is created in a quaint corner of Mumbai.