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Glimpse of Bonedi Barir Durga Puja at Kolkata

Glimpse of Bonedi Barir Durga Puja at Kolkata

Durga Puja in Kolkata is the grand social event. It is not just the event or the festival, but it also carries the sentiment of homecoming,  the feeling of the first love and the clustering of happiness that one can cherish throughout the year. It is celebrated for five days to honor the Goddess Durga and her sons and daughters who are also God and Goddess. In Kolkata, you can find two types of pujas. One is “Barwari”  or “Sarbojonin” that is celebrated with the association of the people of the different neighborhood and another is  “Pujas of traditional houses” or “Bonedi barir puja” that is conducted by the affluent houses  ( Bonedi bari) of the city. The northern part of Kolkata is much popular for the famous traditional puja including “Sarbojonin” and  “Bonedi barir Puja” whereas the southern part is much renowned for theme based  Associational Puja or “Sarbojonin Puja”. The art and creativity flourish in those theme-based pujas. On the other side,  Bonedi pujas are maintaining the age-old Bengali tradition, culture, and rituals. When the Bongs are celebrating Durga Puja in Bengal, the rest of the India is lionizing Navaratri that is also the occasion of worshipping Goddess Durga.

Durga puja
The priest worshipping the Idols of the Goddess Durga in a “Sarbojonin” Durga Puja.

“Barwari” or “Sarbojonin” Durga Puja:

Durga Puja or Worshipping of the Goddes Durga is the five days festival, which starts from the sixth day of Navaratri ( Maha Shosthi) and ends on the tenth day that is called Vijaya Doshomi (Dussera). Each day, the idols of God and Goddes are worshipped in a different way by performing various rituals. The local clubs and associations conduct the puja in their respective locality and neighborhood for the people of that locality by making the pandals and the stages for worshipping the idols of Goddess. These are called in Bengali “Sarbojonin” or “Barowari Puja”. These are the huge celebrations where the huge amount of money and labor are invested. The art of making idols and the pandals based on the theme (it varies club to club) are so amazing that one must have an experience in his or her lifetime. People are all engaging in pandal hopping and tasting various types of food for all the days. There is no night in Kolkata at this time. Transport, shops, restaurants all are open for the whole night.

Bonedi Barir Durga Puja or Durga Puja of Bonedi Families:

The bonedi families are the ancient families of Kolkata and other regions of Bengal. They organize puja with the association of their relatives and family members.  These pujas are more than 100 or 200 years old. “Bonedi” is the native Bengali language. I don’t know its exact English term. Bonedi” families of Kolkata are those who are rich in tradition and maintaining the culture and have affluent financial conditions. Most of these families have their own Zamindari systems which are destroyed after the Independence of the country. Now, some of them are not so affluent, but they are still maintaining their old tradition with the devotion and performing all the rituals of the traditional puja.

Bonedi bari
Bonedi barir Durga Puja: Idols of Dutta Bari (House) of Balaram dey street.

I, personally, do not like to hop pandals by fighting against the huge crowd of Kolkata. I just like to sit in one place and watching the rituals of the puja and the activities of the people in different dresses. I love to visit more than to involve in the activities that I liked in my earlier days.

This year, I have visited, some pujas of those Bonedi bari or families (read it traditional pujas of affluent families).  And I just want to show the glimpse of the conventional Pujas and the rituals of those houses within a traditional ambiance.  Here, you can find typical Bengali (bong) culture or the essence of Bengal.

Thakur dalan of Bonedi bari
Thakur dalan ( The long free space or the veranda in front the established idol) of Mitra family. Mitra bari (house) of Darjipara has a huge and well maintained Thakurdalan.

In the time of puja, these families and houses get a new life because all the relatives and the family members are united again based on this festival. Those, who are staying abroad or different places of the country, come to their houses at this time. So, it is also the time of reunion.

bonedi barir thakurdalan
The members of Dutta family of Thonthonia ( The name of the place where the house is situated) get united at the “Thakur dalan” for performing Puja rituals. Men wear the traditional yellow colored cotton dhoti.

You can find typical bong or Bengali culture in this family gathering. The ladies wear sarees in the Bengali style and decorate themselves with the various types of gold and diamond ornaments. The male members f the houses prefer to wear traditional Bengali attires like “Dhoti (a long piece of cloth that is wrapped around the waist, passed between the legs and tucked in at the waistline.) and Panjabi ( a long Kurta and top part of the dhoti). Now, the people of Kolkata generally wear western outfits or modern Indian attires. So, watching people in traditional attires and performing puja rituals is a quite attractive event.

bonedi barir bou
Bong Beauties: The ladies of Dutta Family watching puja in Thakur dalan. The married women of these houses are used to call ” Bonedi barir bou” in Bangali.

This post is only the glimpse of the pujas of “Bonedi” families.  Here, I tried to show the environment and ambiance of the bonedi houses. It is for the people who are not aware of the term “bonedi” or don’t have any idea about this type of Durga Puja. I will come with more information about the locations and the rituals of those houses with the pictures to my future blog posts based on this series. So, keep your eyes here for more stories of the Durga Puja of Bengali Bonedi houses.

The Real Heroes

The Real Heroes

A father is the second most important person in a child’s life. A mother gives life to a child, then nurtures and holds up her, whereas a father constructs the piller for all of these. His role in a child’s life is more than about paying the bills. His leadership, his support, his guidance and his tolerance make the roof of the house, where the whole family lives in peace. The roof protects the family from rain, storm and an intense ray of a sunbeam.

father10
A father prepares the child to face the world

The moment a man becomes a father, his life changes and he starts to think about his child’s future. He starts to save money by sacrificing his own wants. He works even harder for the extra income to provide the required comfort to his family.  Not only this, he prepares the child for the world.  His inspirations and his courage motivate the youngster to face the challenges of the world. His unending works and support continue until his son or daughter becomes independent to his or her life.

A father supports his child by playing a different role at different times in his child’s life. As a friend, he always lifts up his son or daughter when he or she falls in life and guides them by sharing his life story and insights. He gets defensive when he sees injustice to his son or daughter and fight for them as a warrior. A father becomes the best financial advisor of his son or daughter when they fail to manage their finances.

He always acts in silence. It’s true that he doesn’t have to  tolerate the pain of holding a child in the womb or giving birth to a child. But, he is the most sincere caretaker of his child’s mother from the first day of knowing his child’s existence in the mother’s uterus. He is the bedrock of the family. His dedication and sacrifice to bring up a child are not less than about a mother’s role in child’s life. But, the best thing a father can do for his child is to love and respect her mother.

father2

The mothers are very close to the children. A child laughs when she looks smile on her mother’s face. A child cries when she finds tears in her mother’s eye. Child psychology is more closely related to her mother than to her father. It’s because women are very close to children. They can easily feel and interpret the emotions and needs of the children. Thus, a child can very easily relate to her mother.

When a child see her father is loving and respecting her mother, he becomes the hero to her. She learns to respect him and love him. The child’s mind is like a blank canvas. Hence, the children take what they experience in their surroundings.  A loving and caring father always becomes the ideal of the child. Maybe a child cannot express that. But, when she grows up as an adult, (s) he can understand how his or her dad acts as a captain of the ship of his/her journey. (S)He can realize how much (s)he has learned from his or her father.

A supportive father and a loving mother are the foundations of a true human being of the future generation. This cooperation makes the parenting efficient for the child’s development. As a backbone of a family, a father can lead this and the small fry grows up under the shade of his or her Dad’s supports.  Then, the father turns to the real hero to his child. That is the highest satisfaction of a fatherhood.

father8
A Father is the real hero

The father’s duties as a responsible dad is unending and continues throughout the years. In spite of that, on this special day, I wish to salute to all the fathers for their endless sacrifices and dedications to raise a child. Happy Father’s Day to all the present, past and would be Dad.

 

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