Wish to see ancient temples? Walk into Mumbai's Shivaji Park this Pujo

The Bengal Club organises Durgotsob every year; this year's theme for the pandal is to transport devotees to be transported to ancient temples when they come to seek blessings.

Ashutosh M ShuklaUpdated: Thursday, September 29, 2022, 08:47 AM IST
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Durga Puja Pandal from city (Representative Photo) |

In a few days from now, a corner in the historic Shivaji Park will give a feel of ancient temples. The Bengal Club, which is organising the 87th Durgotsob, will have a theme that looks to transport devotees into ancient temples when they come to seek blessings of Goddess Durga.

From October 1-5, thousands throng to the Shivaji Park as it's considered to be among the oldest pandals in the city. Probashi Bengalis, meaning Bengalis who settled in Mumbai for work, started the Bengal Club in 1922.

“This is the 100th year of the Club. Back then, textile mills and multi-national companies had their headquarters here. People from West Bengal, mainly Kolkata, were appointed in these companies. Bengalis form a club for sporting, cultural, social and charitable activities wherever they go. Later, Durga Puja was organised,” said Club's media committee member Prasoon Rakshit.

The theme that looks to show the marvel of ancient temples will also have glimpses of 100 years. “It will have temples of Bengal and some other ancient temples. The idea is to have the heritage of temples shown to the masses. As the permission came late this time, we are trying to do as much as we can in the little time. The 100 years of Bengal Club will be shown through a screening,” said Nitin Desai, the celebrated art director who is designing the theme.

The Club takes pride in not letting go the traditional facets of puja, which include having dhaakis (drums) from Bengal, dhunuchi naach (devotees dance with earthen pots containing smoldering coal and dhoop), conch blowing competition, and Shondikhand on Ashtami, Kumari Puja on Navami.

“On the first day, we have Bodhon or pran-pratishta. After that, the public can take darshan. Our Pujo is revered not just by Bengalis but also the cosmopolitan community around. It's all inclusive in the sense that it has members of all communities and genders. On the day of Sindoor Khela, transgenders, too, come,” said Prasoon.

Bhog is served from October 2 (Maha Saptami) for three days, and given to devotees during the serving hours till the food stock lasts. “Bhog served will be the traditional Bengali khichdi, labda (mix vegetables), beguni (brinjal pakoda) and payesh (Bengali style kheer),” said Club president Dilip Das. Besides food items, Bengal's traditional handicrafts and handlooms will be showcased during puja.

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