Durga Puja is around the corner. The five-day festival is celebrated with great pomp and fervour. The real charm of the festival can only be witnessed in West Bengal, especially in Kolkata with innovative theme pandals, traditional rituals, food, and fun. Though the festival in Kolkata is larger than life experience, the Bengalis in Mumbai recreate the magic. Durga Puja in Mumbai may not be glitzy and loud as in Kolkata but it surely captures the magnificence and the bliss of the festival. From gorging on royal Bengali feast to celeb-spotting, these pandals give every reason for you to be there. In 2018, Durga Puja begins on October 15 and ends on 19. Here’s our Mumbai guide to pandal hopping.
Powai Bengali Welfare Association: For innovative theme
Powai is an epicenter of Durga Puja. Initially started as an endeavour by the Powai Bengali Welfare Association (PBWA) has over the years established its own presence. The highlight of the pandal is its innovative theme, each year a replica of an architectural heritage in India is created.
When: October 14 to 19
Where: Durga Puja Ground, Next to BEST Depot, Hiranandani Gardens, Near Hiranandani Bus Stand, Powai
Chembur Durga Puja Association: For stuff from rural Bengal
In its 64th year, Chembur Durga Puja Association sees over 1.5 lakh devotees each year. With the traditional puja, aarti, and bhog, the pandal also organises cultural activities planned out over the five days. The place is popular for the authentic Bengali lip-smacking delicacies. There will also be performances by popular Bengali singers like Arpita and Ayan and Bangla band Dashmik performance.
When: October 15 to 19 and 24
Where: Chembur High School Ground, Swami Vivekananda Chowk, Chembur East
North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga: For celeb-spotting
North Bombay Sarbojanin Durga Puja is one of the grandest pujas which was started in 1947 by Paddamshri Shasdhar Mukerji along with 26 like-minded friends. The pandal is popular for celebrity spotting and you will find members of the Mukherjee family – especially Kajol, Tanuja and Rani Mukherjee – serving bhog. This year you can witness performances of well-known singers Shaan, Pritam, and Alka Yagnik.
When: October 15 to 19
Where: Golden Tobacco Ground, Tobacco House, Indira Nagar, SV Road, Vile Parle West
Ramakrishna Math & Mission Puja: For Kumari puja
The usual serene atmosphere of the Ramakrishna Math gets a transformation during the Durga Puja. The venue is popular for the traditional Durga Puja and the highlight of the event is the Kumari Puja on Mahashtami. The age-old custom of Kumari Puja was started by Swami Vivekananda, where a young girl is worshipped as Goddess symbolising the power that regulates the creation, stability, and destruction of the Earth.
When: October 14 to 18
Where: Ramakrishna Mission Marg, 12th Road, Khar West
Lokhandwala Durga Puja: For a complete festive package
The Lokhandwala Durga Puja celebration headed by singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya is celebrating its 23rd year. The pandal is popularly known as ‘Abhijeet’s Pujo’. The pandal is splendid with numerous cultural events, and extravagant setting, shopping area, and food court. The highlight of the festival is the ‘dhaaker taale’ with 40 dhaakis at 7 pm every day. There are several events lined-up during the festival to keep you entertained.
When: October 13 to 19 and 24
Where: Lokhandwala Complex, Lokhandwala, Andheri West