Durga Puja 2016 in Mumbai – Snapstory

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Durga Puja 2016 in Mumbai – Snapstory

I’m in love with Durga Puja and I can totally explain why.

I lived in Singapore all my life – 22 years to be exact before I came to Mumbai a couple of years back. I was raised there, embraced the multi-racial culture fully, the yummy food (oh how much I miss it) and of course, the Singaporean way of life which I am super-duper proud of. I was often also equally excited for a Chinese New Year celebration as much as I was for Deepavali. Living there added so many dimensions to my overall personality and I am so grateful for that.

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However it can get a tad bit confusing when it comes to identity – heard of ABCD? American Born Confused Desi  – yeah well, I am essentially Indian and my roots are in Calcutta. I am a Bengali but English was my first language and I took Hindi as my mother tongue. I didn’t have too many Bengali friends till a few years ago. Of course, there was a Durga Puja celebration full on in Singapore. However, I hate to confess that I wasn’t ever ecstatic over it. Firstly because my end of the year exams would always clash with Durga Puja celebrations leaving me with no choice but to miss the celebrations on most of the days. Secondly, I never quite related to the hype around it. The same set-up, same people, same type of catered food…  and I didn’t have too many Bengali friends to hang out with during those days. In short, I was never as excited.

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Once I came to Mumbai, things changed. I did make a lovely bong friend aka Pooja Das and if you follow me on Instagram, you’d see her a lot with me in my photos. Of course, there were my postgrad school friends – Lynn, in particular, with whom I’ve attended 4 consecutive Durga Pujas including this year.

The concept of ‘pandal hopping’ was fairly new to me.  A pandal is essentially a marquee. And going around visiting Pandals across the city, seeing the different Durga idols, the beautiful thematic set ups and hogging great food was quite a common way to celebrate Durga Puja in India, especially Calcutta. I’ve been told that Durga Pujas in Calcutta are amazing and Mumbai doesn’t even come close. But since I’ve never attended one in Cal, there was no scope for comparison.

All I can say is that I had a great time during those 4-5 days.  Navratri is a 9 day festival that culminates with Dusshera on the 10th day and I’ve been told for Bengalis, Durga Puja starts on the third day.

We kickstarted the celebrations on Shoshti (6th day) with darshan at Lokhandwala.

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On the 8th day, Ashtami, we began early in the morning – I left home by 8.30am for pushpanjali in Malad at 10.30am. Pushpanjali is like a prayer/offering to the Goddess but you can’t eat anything before the ceremony.

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From Malad, we headed to Kandivali which again hosted a beautiful Durga Idol in a mansion like theme..

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Post that, we went to Goregaon for lunch bhog at Anurag Basu’s Durga Puja…

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On the 9th day, Nabami, we headed to the Lokhandwala Puja – this one’s sponsored by Times of India and singer Abhijeet is a key member of the organizing committee.  I wore a yellow sari that day. Some photoshoot …

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For dinner, we headed to Mukherjee Bari Puja – the Durga Puja at Tulip Hotel. This is organized by the Mukherjee family – Rani, Kajol etc. Ranbir Kapoor and Ayan Mukherji were also present there. Alka Yagnik, Sajid-Wajid were performing there. It was simply majestic – possibly the best pandal I attended this year. The drum beats, the smell of incense and aarti.

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On the 10th day, we headed to the Lokhandwala Durga Puja for a last darshan of Goddess Durga.

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There were other Pujas happening – one in Bandra which was attended by Sushmita Sen and another at the Ramakrishna Mission attended by the Bachchan family. I heard even the Powai Durga Puja was good but gave it a miss this time round. All in all, I loved the different thematic installations, lighting & the whole atmosphere in general. And for the first time in my entire life, I was upset that Durga Puja got over. Well like the say, never say goodbye – Till we meet again, next year. Here’s wishing everyone a much belated & blessed Durga Puja.

Ps. Can’t take the fashion blogger out of me – which look did you like the most from my Durga Puja #OOTD ?

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Xoxo
Ritwika

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