As soon as the nine days of Navratri set in, the festivities of Durga Puja come in right after, bringing in lots of happiness, love and really good food. If you are a Bengali who has settled down in Pune and celebrating the festival here, you might definitely feel bad about not being able to celebrate it in your hometown. Worry not, because Pune has its share of Durga Pujo Pandals, which actively carry out all the same rituals and serve the amazing Bengali food too! Just visit any of these pandals and their spirit of celebration will fill your heart and souls with joy:
1) Kalyaninagar Sarbojanin Durotsav, Kalyani Nagar:
If you want to enjoy a high class elite Durga Puja then Kalyaninagar Durotsav is one pandal you must visit. Kalyani Nagar Sarbojanin Durgotsav near Koregaon Park is famous for the elite class attendees and also for its classy idols every year. The five days are creatively celebrated with exhibitions of handicrafts, stage shows, celebrity performances etc. There are innumerable food stalls serving food right from Puchkas to Eggrolls, Ghugni to Kosha Maangsho and all those Bengali delicacies which you have been dying to relish. The best part about this pandal is that it’s not very crowded.
2) Bangiya Sanskriti Samasad, Congress Hall:
Next on your visit list should be Bangiya Sanskriti Samasad, Congress Hall. This is the most crowded pandal in Pune. This pandal gives you a complete atmosphere of mini Kolkata. There are food outlets which serve authentic Bengali food. I am sure this place will console you with all its charm of the royal festival.
3) Kali Bari Samiti, Khadki
Another place to visit should Kali Bari Samiti which is located in Khadki. This is done by one of the oldest Durga Puja committees and they have been celebrating the festival since decades. The idol of this pandal is beautifully designed. The idol reflects immense calmness and content. Apart from the idol, there are book stalls, consisting of books written by different Bengali writers based on the creation of Ma Durga and also short stories and poems. Not to forget the food! You get lip-smacking mutton masala and chicken masala here made in the traditional bong way.
4) Bengali Assocition Durgotsav, Siddhi Gardens, Erandwane:
This is the first Durga Puja Association of Pune located in Siddhi Gardens, Erandwane. One of the most homely Durga Pujas, which actually makes you feel at home. The bhog of this pandal is the best. On Ashtami and Novomi which are the most important days amongst the five days, this place is flooded with people just to taste the bhog. The evenings at Siddhi Garden are musical and artful. There are competitions of Dhunochi Naach, Saankh Bajano (blowing the Sankh) and other such events.
Now you know that if you cannot make it to Kolkata this year for the puja, which are the places that you should be headed to. Just plan an evening out with your loved ones and make sure that you keep your stomachs empty because the delicacies won’t let you stay off them.
Pic credits: irctc, journeymart, goibibo