“The purohit has to fast but it is up to other people whether they want to fast or not. It’s just that if you do not fast then you cannot offer the pushpanjali. We don’t hold any animal sacrifices but we do offer an ash gourd as a sacrifice,” said Mita Pal, an organiser of the Sarathi Kali Puja at Koramangala.
Other major pandals in city
* Sarathi Socio-cultural Trust: Mangala Kalyana Mantapa, 80 Ft Road, Koramangala, 8th Block (near Aangan restaurant)
In Koramangala, the pandal by Sarathi Cultural Association is more contemporary in terms of the crowd and the stalls. With many popular restaurants putting up their stalls here, visitors can feast their tastebuds with Hyderabadi biryani, fish fry and rice or even cutlets and rolls.
“Earlier all the Bengalis of this city had to travel all the way to Ulsoor for Kali puja. So, we decided to conduct a puja in Koramangala itself. We formed an association, 'Sarathi Socio Cultural Trust' and started celebrating Kali puja besides the usual Durga puja,” said Sudipto Das, member of Sarathi socio-cultural Trust of Koramangala.
Nowadays, even the non-bengalis have joined in this celebration. Says Saurav Mathur, a resident of Sarjapur road, “I was associated with a group which used to organise Durga puja. Since then, I have been heavily influenced with all these pujas.”
Sarathi Cultural Association, near Ganesh Temple, 80 Ft Road, Koramangala
Durgotsav 2012, which would be celebrated by the Sarathi Socio Cultural Trust at Mangala Kalyana Mantapa, is one of the major events. One of the organisers said there are various fun-filled activities lined up, some of which include performances by Bengali pop artistes and bands along with a homemade food fiesta.
Sarathi Socio-Cultural Trust is organizing its 10th edition of the Puja. The 5-day cultural extravaganza, called Sammad, will be held at Mangala Kalyana Mantapa, 8th Block, 80 Feet Road, Koramangala. "We encourage all people, irrespective of community, to participate in the Puja," said Sudipto Das, a member of Sarathi.
“We would be bringing the original old idol of Durga during the puja this year. We have been distributing free bhog everyday and will have a lot of cultural programmes during the festival,” says Alok Basu, the chairman of the Sarathi Socio-Cultural Trust in Koramangala.
“If (the) IT (sector) as such doesn’t pick up, it’s very tough for events to happen in Bangalore,” said Sudipto Das, who handles cultural events at the Sarathi Socio-Cultural Trust, which organises the Puja at Koramangala, a locality home to many IT firms and professionals.
“Finance is tough this year also,” said Das, adding that the number of small sponsors “has reduced a lot”.
The Koramangala puja, which sees at least 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh visitors over the four days, will spend around Rs 18-19 lakh as against Rs 22 lakh last year in an attempt to optimise costs, he said.