Durga puja pandals in Ghaziabad come alive with cheer and bonhomie

Ashni Dhaor, Ghaziabad: Durga Puja celebrations have picked up pace in the city with pandals all set to welcome

Goddess Durga and start the annual festivities. Residents from not just the Bengali community but others too are preparing for the festival.
The celebrations by the Prantic Cultural Society (PCS), which comprises residents of over 30 residential societies of Indirapuram, this year is based around the theme of unity in diversity as non-Bengali people have been invited to participate in the cultural programmes.
“We started celebrations on Wednesday by holding a home-made food competition by non-Bengali residents of Indirapuram. We invited Sudhangshu Sharma, executive sous chef of a reputed hotel in Kaushambi, to be the judge at the event,” said Malay Majumder, president of PCS.
He added that cultural performances by non-Bengalis also spread a message of inclusiveness.
“A cultural programme, ‘Anekta me ekta’, saw people from Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Assam and Gujarat presenting their traditional dances,” Majumder said.
Ghaziabad Mayor Ashu Verma and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s son and Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Neeraj Singh were the guests of honour at the event. They lit the lamp to mark the beginning of the Puja with the ritual of Devi Murti Unmochon — the unveiling of Goddess Durga’s idol.
Other Durga Puja committees across the city will start celebrations on Thursday.
With an aim to encourage environment friendly practices, the members of Bongotoru, the Bengali committee in Shipra Rivera, have set up an eco-friendly pandal this year.
“This is our 15th year of Durga Puja and we have made the whole pandal from leaves found on the river banks. The idol of Goddess Durga has also been made with clay and the paint used is also eco-friendly,” said Purbas Ghosh, chaiman of Bongotoru committee.
In Kaushambi, Durga Puja preparations are on in full swing. Women from the Bengali community have prepared a dance drama to be performed on October 10.
“We have prepared a dance drama on the famous play by Rabindranath Tagore ‘Shapmochon’. As in pervious years, the rehearsals have been going on since the past one month,” said Papiya Ghatak, member of Durga Puja committee in Kaushambi.