Friday, October 12, 2007

Durga Puja in Bangalore

This post originally appeared in Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog!

This blog is actually based on email forwarded to me by Malovika Roy, a good friend and a journalist, on Durga Puja celebrations in Bangalore. Reproduced here for readers. Thanks a lot, Malovika.

Durga Puja 2007 Locations in Bangalore (17th to 20th October)

Airport Road - Wind Tunnel Road
Air Force Puja - After you enter Wind Tunnel Road from Airport Road, halfway on Wind Tunnel Road, there is a driveway that takes you into an Air Force Campus. This is probably opposite Rifco Apartment. A sureshot way to not miss it is to realize that the Air Force Campus wall stretches from Airport Road halfway into Wind Tunnel Road.

This is typically a small puja. However, it is done in a pretty homely way. Kind of like Chotto Para pujas in the Bengali heartland. For those who know me, Habul was the singer (evening entertainer on one of the puja evenings) here, last year. This is also a good location for the sindoor stuff on Dashami, for those who stay on Airport Road.

Bellary Road-Mekhri Circle
If you travel along Bellary Road from City Centre (Windsor Manor or Cauvery Theatre) toward Hebbal. As you cross the Mekhri Circle underpass, you will see an entrance to an Air Force Campus on the left side. The puja is almost just inside the gate. This is not a very large puja. There are cultural programs in the evening. This is a multicultural puja with probably more of Hindi songs and programs than anything else.

Cambridge Layout - Indiranagar
The typical route is after exiting the Command Hospital puja and moving toward Indiranagar. In the Cambridge Layout area, after crossing the Sai Mandir etc., there is a lane to the left just before reaching a small bridge over a drain. This is on the way to ESI Hospital, and finally the SONY Service Centre on 100 Feet Road. Once you enter this lane, it winds for a few hundred metres and brings you to a municipal choultry adjacent to a temple. This is the location of the Puja. Definitely one of the bigger pujas with grand cultural programs.

Command Hospital-Indiranagar\Airport Road\Cambridge Layout
If you go from MG Road toward the Airport, you will notice a left turn just before Command Hospital pops up on your left. Entering this left turn, you’ll find yourself deep inside Defence property. Few hundred meters in, there is a circle where you have to enter the hospital gate on the right. Inside, you wind along toward the commotion, and presently you’ll find yourself at a large playground where the puja is held. Not a big puja, but hosts Hindi song evenings. Being a Defence puja, it is markedly multicultural.

CV Raman Nagar/DRDO
I guess there’s one there too. Probably in the Community Centre. I’ll have to find out details though.

One of the bigger pujas. Well documented too! Location -- Jayamahal Ladies Club Grounds, off Nandidurg Main Road, Jayamahal, Bangalore (close to Cantonment area).

JP Nagar
Usually, at the junction of Bannerghatta Road and Outer Ring Road in JP Nagar. In a Kalyan Mantapa opposite to Shoppers Stop. A medium-sized puja.

This puja is a few years old and was located at the Kalyana Mantapa near Ganesha Temple for last couple of years. Apparently, this year, they banished a subgroup for unknown reasons. This subgroup started a brand new puja. Interestingly, this new group managed to book the Kalyana Mantapa before the Real McCoys. So you’ll see this new puja at the old place this year.

The traditional group can be visited few hundred meters away, somewhere near the Police Station. Excellent turn of luck for Koramangalaians in terms of being able to see two pujas in one shot!

Mahalakshmi Layout: North Bangalore
I am sure there is a puja, though I’ll need to figure out the route - stay tuned. Sadumatada Sadara Vidyabhivrudhi Sangha, No. 5A, 4th A Main Road, 12th Cross, West of Chord Road, Mahalakshmipuram, Bangalore 560086.

Malleshwaram - Canara Union
This was pointed out to be a simple, middle-class puja. I remember having visited last year. Shouldn’t have forgotten to include. Definitely gives a homely sense.

It is reached by taking a right turn from the top of Marathahalli railway overbridge, while headed toward Whitefield (alongside Aishwarya Apartments). It is the second year of this puja.

Bengalee Association Ulsoor Pooja
R.B.A.N.M.S. Exhibition Ground, opposite to Ajanta Talkies, Near Ulsoor Lake, Bangalore-42 — Opposite Shree Complex (also home to Cybermedia’s/CIOL’s office)
Bengali Association, Assaye Road. The puja is located in large open fields in the vicinity. This is the definitive a uber puja. Oldest, biggest, etc., etc. Not to be missed!

Whitefield - Brookefields
Located at Brookefields opposite HLL in the big marriage hall. Rapidly growing puja — and walkable from my home! From Airport, proceed toward Marattahalli, cross and proceed toward Varthur over the railway overbridge at Marattahalli. This is one straight road.

After crossing the railway overbridge, about half a kilometre later, you reach the Kundalahalli traffic junction. Take a left there toward ITPL. About half a kilometer ahead, the marriage hall on the left hosts this puja (landmarks on the right — opposite side of road — Lakme Beauty Salon, Andhra Spice Restaurant, Sobha IT Park, Hindustan Lever’s Brookefield office, etc).

Whitefield - Village
Located at Inner Circle of Whitefield Village (Close to Nilgiris in Whitefield). Smaller. Multicultural with a twist — when we visited children were dancing to Tamil hits.

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