Pandemic puja prompts (adventurous) Bengalis to discover charms of Bengal this vacation season

Pandemic puja prompts (adventurous) Bengalis to discover charms of Bengal this vacation season
It’s a pleasing October afternoon, somewhere round the late 2000s. A lanky, restless 16-year-old boy rushes home from school, dumps his bag below the study table and picks up an already-packed rucksack and does a last-minute check. Completing his Judgment Day at college before Durga Puja vacations, he ticks away a checklist before he’s off on a Gangotri-Cheerbas-Bhujbas-Gomukh-Tapoban trek together with his family subsequent day.
Cut to 2020, the boy, now a full-grown 27-year-old man, ‘masked’ and somewhat confined by the pandemic to his home and its vicinity, can only reminisce his past Puja vacations this year. But he features a plan for celebrating pandemic-hit Puja differently. Deepro Majumder is exploring small villages within the outskirts of his hometown, and a few of their traditional pujas including those still travel by descendants of royal and zamindar families this year.
For Majumder, born and mentioned in Santiniketan — an area which, in spite of being a neighborhood of Bengal, has remained faraway from the perpetual madness surrounding Durga Puja — the Puja vacation always meant travelling to the mountains. “There’s some connection between Durga Puja and mountains on behalf of me , that has developed over the years… maybe because as we had always, with few exceptions, planned mountain trips at this point of the year, as this was the sole common holiday for my parents,” he explains.
Thanks to having lived on the brink of the campus of Visva Bharati, which follows the Brahmo Samaj’s principle of shunning idolatry , the amount of Pujas around were less, then was the thrill surrounding those. “It’s been years that I even have been in Santiniketan during the Pujas. I even have heard of nearby villages like Hatshirandi, where pujas are offered to goddess Durga and her children painted on clay backdrop. I even have decided to travel there this point ,” he says.
durga puja 2020, durga puja in kolkata, pandemic puja, durga pujo,indianexpress, kolkata santiniketan celebrations, pandemic puja, pandemic festivals, Hatshirandi may be a small village where pujas are offered to goddess Durga and her children painted on clay backdrop
Another village, Moukhira, houses around 20 terracotta temples. “Here, the attraction isn’t any celebrated Puja, but those temples,” he says, sharing his plan a couple of bike trip to the place with a few friends. He also will swing by the normal family-run Pujas in Ruppur, Surul and Taltor, all at a motorable distances from Santiniketan. “All these have made it to my list due to their old world charm,” he says, admitting that the very old family pujashave always attracted him quite /barowari/(community) pujas which are too crowded for his liking.
Then there’s the Durga Puja in Boner Pukur Danga in Sonajhuri area started by artist Badhan Das who himself wont to make the idols. “This is one among the attractions even for the tourists who visit Santiniketan during the Pujas,” he says, while adding that visitors will got to take care this point .
durga puja 2020, durga puja in kolkata, pandemic puja, durga pujo,indianexpress, kolkata santiniketan celebrations, pandemic puja, pandemic festivals, Durga Puja in Boner Pukur Danga in Sonajhuri area was started by artist Badhan Das who himself wont to make the idols.
Like Majumder, tons of individuals in Kolkata too are trying to find a breath of fresh air by driving off to places at a three-four hours’ distance, says Shibani Bhattacharya, a Kolkata-based agent . She observes that the corona scare among Kolkata people has resulted in two sorts of behaviours this point . “Unable to measure the degree of risk outdoors, some people are weary of travelling, while others are travelling to avoid the Kolkata crowd,” she says. “Again, there are those that are trying to find a getaway from the four walls of their homes after months of restricted movement.”
However, bookings are definitely low this point as compared to previous years, Shibani agrees. “But people that are venturing out are choosing short trips to nearby places,” she says. aside from the favored tourist destinations like Digha, Mandarmani and Kashpur, they’re also curious about exploring Purulia, Mayapur, Nabadweep, Jhargram and even Dooars.
Most of the people are preferring private vehicles while some are hiring cars for touring briefly groups. “We also are urging people to limit their groups to relations to minimise the danger factor,” says Bhattacharya. Most of those trips are just three to four days long, she adds.
Travellers this point are enquiring about the Covid protocols and safety measures taken by the hotels, guest houses and homestays before deciding upon which one to book. “Hotels are mostly running with 50% occupancy. an area vacated by a client is allotted to a different only after a two-day gap and proper sanitation. tons of places aren’t allowing senior citizens as they’re more susceptible to infection,” she says. The hotels also are providing an SOS number to contact just in case of any emergency and obtain in-tuned with the closest medical clinic or doctor available.
Bhattacharya says tons of the family Durga Pujas in Kolkata too have restricted entries of outsiders this year. “There are travel guides in Kolkata who take people on a tour to those traditional Pujas in old houses, mostly located in North Kolkata, while also narrating briefly the fascinating backstories of every of them. This year, such tours aren’t allowed, unless you show them Covid negative certificates,” she explains.
India Tourism has planned certain packages during which people can visit pujas in nearby villages, enjoy their rural charm and return an equivalent day. “There are 15-20 such Pujas listed by India tourism,” Bhattacharya says.
Gargi Saha and her family are among the only a few who are trusting conveyance for long tours this Autumn break. Saha, a Kolkata resident, who are going to be touring Kalimpong-Lolegaon and if possible Darjeeling just after the Pujas will board a train to New Jalpaiguri, the railroad station nearest to Capitol Hill station. Asked about safety concerns while boarding a train, the 24-year-old engineer says, “We haven’t any way but to believe that the train journey is safe as this trip has become a necessity after months of lockdown.”
Still not confident enough to travel out of Bengal this year, the Saha family decided to accept a destination within Bengal, but couldn’t find rooms in their preferred hotel. “They aren’t letting out all the rooms at a time. They suggested we visit at the post-/Dashami/ (last day of Durga Pujas) when the rooms are going to be available again.”
durga puja 2020, durga puja in kolkata, pandemic puja, durga pujo,indianexpress, kolkata santiniketan celebrations, pandemic puja, pandemic festivals, India Tourism has planned certain packages during which people can visit pujas in nearby villages, enjoy their rural charm and return an equivalent day.
Sumonika Ganguly, who also desperately wants to maneuver out of Kolkata during the Pujas due to the push at pandals, is additionally on the lookout for a secure place to remain in Bolpur-Santiniketan where she plans to travel together with her husband and seven-year-old son. “Its almost impossible to stay my son reception when the Dhakis’ beats come calling during the Pujas,” says Ganguly, a teacher at a Kolkata college, apparently worried about her child’s exposure to a crowd of a minimum of 300-400 people at their /para/(of her locality) pandal.
If the trip materialises, the family are going to be driving to the destination on their car. But the family is employed to such trips as her husband may be a member of Kolkata on Wheels, an organisation arranging thrilling convoy drives within Kolkata to above 300 kms outside the town . “Though Kolkata on Wheels isn’t organising driving trips now, we had planned this journey during the Pujas informally with two other families. It somehow didn’t compute ,” Ganguly rues. “Let’s see if the three folks can move out of Kolkata this Puja,” she sighs.

Advertisement

author

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *