When we say Durga Puja, we think Kolkata. But did you know that Mumbai boasts of some of the biggest Durga Puja celebrations in India. Thanks to the large non-resident Bengali population in the city, some of them being our very own Bollywood stars!
Typically, Durga Puja is celebrated from the 6th to the 9th day of Navaratri, the 10th day being Vijaya Dashami when the goddess is seen off. The beauty of the celebration lies in the fact that she is treated like a daughter coming home (maternal house -the Earth) along with her 4 children - Saraswati, Laxmi, Ganesh and Karthik. It creates a large canvas for a socio-cultural celebration.
To experience a flavour of the vibrant culture, gorge on the yummy bhog or watch some of the cultural programmes and witness ‘Pujo’ in its full splendour, you can hop to any of these pandals
This one is said to be one of the oldest in Mumbai (more than 75 years old!). Look for Shivaji Park’s Bengal Club Durga Puja in Dadar West. The pandal is not one of the biggest or the most ornate but the food court and stalls on the ground (selling sweets, sarees, terracotta jewelry etc) make it a great place to hang out in the evenings.
Location: Bengal Club, Veer Savarkar Marg, Shivaji Park, Dadar (west)
Image Source: dnaindia.com
Natunpalli Sarbojonin Durgotsav at Bandra is known to give visitors a feeling of having come home to Bengal. It also hosts some of the best cultural programmes. You might want to go for bhog prasad (sumptuous lunch) in the afternoon on the 7th, 8th and 9th days of Navratri.
Location: Behind Link Road Mall (33rd Road), near Patwardhan Park
Image Source: finelychopped.net
The key patrons of this Pooja are Abhijit Bhattacharya, the Bollywood singer and Anjan Chatterjee, the founder of the Mainland China group. Naturally, it’s a bit more glamorous than the others. Their programmes too are more by Bollywood stars than Bengali cultural honchos. Nevertheless, the pandal is done up with pomp and show and the Puja is worth a visit!
Location: B-702, Maharana Pratap Rd, Lokhandwala Complex, Andheri West
Image Source: Lokhandwala Durga PUJA / Facebook
Santacruz/ Juhu - Lions Garden (Now Held in Juhu Centaur Hotel)
This one is called ‘Balkanji Bari Pandal’, primarily known for the fact that the organizers are the families of Rani Mukherjee and Kajol. Naturally, this pandal is visited by Bollywood actors too. Since the last 2 years, they have been installing a beautiful and a very ornamental set-up at the Juha Centaur Hotel.
Location: 25, Juhu Road, GOI Staff Colony, Santacruz West
Image Source: m.mid-day.com
Being organized by the Ramkrishna Mission, this one has a classical charm! The divinity and purity is true to the Puja! The goddess and her 4 children (Laxmi, Saraswati, Karthik and Ganesh) are dressed very traditionally in the existing temple premises. There is no makeshift pandal here unlike others.
Location: - Ramakrishna Mission Marg, 12th Road, Khar (West)
Image Source: blog.tybrosholidays.com
The Hiranandani Gardens, Powai area boasts of 2 very large celebrations - elegant and vibrant with both its decor and people.
One is by the Powai Bengali Welfare Association - organized by the old folks in Powai and is more traditional.
The other one is called Spandan and the organizers are a younger lot. The cultural programmes at both can keep the city upbeat as long as the authorities allow!
Location: - MCGM Ground, Opp. Jalvayu Vihar, Adjacent to BEST Bus Terminus, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai
Image Source: pbwa.in
Navi Mumbai boasts of a sizeable Bengali population. Hence, both the Puja Pandals are vibrant - the gorgeous deities, the beautifully crafted pandals, the sumptuous bhog and their cultural programmes - any part of the 2 Puja pandals are worth making a trip to the satellite city, if you don’t live there.
Location: One is by the Navi Mumbai Bengali Association (at a ground near the Vashi Police station) and the other by Vashi Cultural Association at Sector 12, at a ground on the Vashi main road itself.
Image Source: googleweblight
All these Pooja Pandals serve Bhog prasad a sumptuous lunch) on all 3 important days of Durga Pooja - 7th, 8th and 9th day of Navaratri. All you have to do is queue up at the Pandal with your kids.
You will definitely not regret the wait!
Overall, it’s definitely something your kids will be delighted to see!
Explore the entire collection of articles: Navratri
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