On the auspicious evening of Ashthami celebrations, observed on October 23, a multitude of devotees congregated near the Durga Puja pandals in Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park. This vibrant neighbourhood in Delhi welcomed people from all corners of the city to partake in the joyous pandal-hopping tradition, embracing the festive spirit.
The 10-day Durga Puja carnival is known for its elaborate pandals, or decorative marquees, drawing thousands daily during the festival’s final five days. The celebration features magnificent idols of Goddess Durga, accompanied by troupes of dhakis, skilled drummers playing the traditional dhak instrument, and various other musicians. The festival tantalises taste buds with a diverse array of cuisines from across the country.
The CR Park market and the lanes surrounding the pandals buzz with the aroma and flavours of Bengali dishes such as ghuhani, chaat, rui maacher kaalia (rohu fish curry), mughlai paratha, and Kolkata-style biryani, providing a feast for gastronomes.
Men and women decked in traditional attire eagerly hop between pandals set on different themes, immersing themselves in the vibrant celebration. This enthusiasm is not limited to Bengalis alone. Individuals from various cultural backgrounds wholeheartedly immerse themselves in the festivities.
“I am not a Bengali, but every year, I come with my friends to admire the exquisite pandals and indulge in the flavours of Bengali delicacies,” said Saumya Sharma, a Delhi University student, who joined the celebrations for the delicious food.
With its rich history of embracing diverse cultures and traditions, Delhi views Durga Puja as a testament to the city’s unity in diversity. The streets teem with artistic pandals, temporary structures adorned with beautifully crafted idols of Goddess Durga and her divine entourage. This celebration serves as a true reflection of the national capital’s unique ability to weave various cultures into a harmonious tapestry.