Durga Puja is knocking
at the door. The people, the fun, and the colours are again back again.
Puja means colourful sarees in red and white. Nowadays there are more
colours that have been added to the Puja specials. The boutiques bring
out nice kameezes that are specially made, keeping the Puja theme alive.
Baily Road, the
official road for sarees, has a wide collection of Puja wear for ladies.
Hawkers, Gawsia and all other the shops have sarees in red, white, green
and other vibrant colours. The materials are also different in each
store. They have pure cotton, silk, muslin, georgette etc. The price
varies depending on the material and the detail.
The well known kameez
shops like Kay Kraft, Doorjee, OG, Anjans, Nipun, Probortona and Banglar
Mela etc have a wide range of clothing for both men and women. They
have sarees with block, batik, embroidery, hand paints etc. You will
find more variety here. They make Punjabis and Fotuas for men in bright
colours. Kay Kraft and Banglar Mela have good men's ranges. Anjan's
and OG also have good stuff for the men, to brighten them up during
The festival mood
is in the air. All the markets seem to be full of activity these days.
Bangles, bindis, and other jewellery are found in plenty at all the
mega shopping malls of the city and around. Elephant road, known to
all as a shoe-shopper's heaven, has been busy lately as the stores have
nice shoes, which match the colours of the Puja clothes.
The prices are pretty
reasonable. Cotton sarees in a variety of styles and colours are available
within Taka 1,500. Silk and the expensive range starts at Taka 1,600
and goes up till 3,800. Eastern Plaza also offers a huge collection
of clothes at affordable rates provided one knows the art of haggling.
Panjabi range starts at Taka 650 goes up till Taka 1,500 mostly, though
you will find exceptions in a few shops like Aarong, Mayasir or Kumudini
etc. Nice kameezes are found within Taka 2,500 comfortably. The prices
that have been mentioned here are the average prices, which the market
offers. Now that you have all the odds and ends about colourful shopping
venues, hope you have a colourful Puja with beautiful clothes and nice
accessories to carry it off.
for this Durga puja is almost done. The materials that got the top priority
in your shopping list have already found a way to your home. To help
you out in your last moment shopping here is some list of items, their
prices, and available place.
for the moment…religious songs
During the five days of stay by Devi Durga a touch of shyama giti, podaboli,
kirton, and bhojon might actually tune your spirit to the right festival
frequency. Recorded mostly in India these religious songs are available
in CDs. Songs are mostly on Durga, Radha-Krishna, biography of Lokonath
and they are performed by famous Indian singers such as Anup Jolota,
Kumar Sanu, Chobi Bondhopadhay, and Porixit Bala. Available at Shurer
Mela, 95, Aziz Super Market, Shahbag. These CDs will cost Tk50-60. Some
of these CDs are available at the music stores of New Market.
Learning about the history of Durga puja or other worshipped gods and
goddesses, traditions and rituals of puja could be a bright idea during
this time of the year. Books written by various writers on this subject
are available at Ekushey, Aziz Super Market, Shahbag. Aziz market, popularly
known as boi para to the book lovers of Dhaka is full of such books.
Ramayan by Aumolesh Bhattacharjya will cost Tk128. Puja Parboner Uthshokotha
by Pollob Shen Gupta will cost Tk208. There is another three part book
that deserve serious reading is Hinduder Dev Devi by Hongshonarayan
Bhattacharjya. Each part of this book cost Tk432.
What is the sweet treat that prevails in the puja menu? Why narkel naaroo
of course. This naaroo lasts for at least a month after the puja. To
make a whole lot of these sweet delicacies you will need a lot of coconut.
Coconut is available at every kutcha bazaar (kitchen market) at the
price of Tk10-15.
your senses to incense…
The usual scent that comes from the household of a devoted Hindu during
Durga puja is that of the agarbati. The presence of Agarbati is necessary
in every puja. Available in different flavours, one box of these incense
sticks will cost Tk5-10. These are available at almost any grocery store
What good is an agarbati (incense) without a leg to stand on? The picture
is only completed by an agarbati stand. Made of brass, these holders
are available at Jahanara cottage industries at previously mentioned
Aziz Super Market. The price will be Tk125. If you need to buy necessary
items such as agarbati stand to perform puja then you might like to
visit Shakhari bazar of Old Dhaka. The price will be less there. If
you're willing to splurge on something fancy, try taking a gander at
the collections at Aarong and Folk Bangladesh.
Shindur is an essential element during the Durga puja. Marble stone
boxes with exclusive mina inlays will cost about Tk120. These boxes
are also available with marvellous carvings on them at the same price.
Oxidised metal boxes will cost between Tk60-70. Available at Ideas,
Aziz Market. Brass shindur boxes are available at Shakhari bazar. They
will cost around Tk30. You can also find them at the antique shops in
the Gulshan-2 DCC market.
What is the best place to buy cheap three-piece kameez sets? Chandni
Chawk is the name that comes to mind. Taat, kotki, chundri, cotton print,
cotton check, cotton stripe with embroidery and the list goes on. All
of them are available there at a very minimal price. If you want an
attractive, yet affordable dress material for this puja then a visit
to Chandni Chawk is a must. Taat three piece with paar will cost Tk.250.
Kotki in various colours will cost Tk.500 or less. Chundri is still
there at the price of Tk200. Cotton with various prints on them will
cost Tk250 to 350. Other two materials on cotton cost almost the same.
Now the price always depends on your ability to haggle. Chandni Chawk
is full of aggressive salesmen. If you show any sign of weakness, they
will mercilessly fleece you.
That's about all we have this week. Have a great shopping spree this
Once again the goddess is here. Devoted Hindus all around Bangladesh
will worship Durga and her four children Laxmi, Shorshyoti, Kartik,
and Ganesh. A jovial atmosphere is already in the air. The sound of
Kirton, dhuk and dhol will amplify the cheerful mood once more. On
the occasion of this biggest festival of the Bengali Hindu community,
we wish a heartfelt Sharodiya greetings.
that the five types of flowers needed to perform Durga puja has to
be ones without thorns. Other than flowers fifteen items are necessary
to perform the puja. These include, grass, tulsi leaves, and wood
apple leaves. Treats offered to the goddess would be luchi, payesh
(rice pudding), fruits and some other items.
Speaking with one Bengali immigrant living in Boston, we have learned
that in USA, New York is the place where most of the mondops are built.
The difference there is that they perform puja only on weekends and
mostly celebrate doshomi due to their busy schedules. However, in
UK the festivity is more intense because of the presence of many Bengali
Scarcity of funds
All around Bangladesh different puja committees receive monetary assistance
from the government and the Hindu Kollyan Shamity every year. While
visiting some mondirs to write reports for our puja issue one committee
leader told the LS team that, "the amount of this fund is very
diminutive". They claim "we go through difficult experiences
to arrange puja with this little amount of money". If this scarcity
of funds could be resolved then the festival might be more glamorous.
Some ancient temples that have archaeological value are in very poor
shape. These temples give us an idea of our past. Temples with archaeological
value need immediate conservation, without distorting the originality.
If we do not, a very important part of our heritage will be lost.
Temples in old Dhaka are extremely neglected. In some of these temples,
all that is left are eroded buildings, which are still used to perform
different puja. These run down buildings pose a great risk to devotees.
They require immediate reconstruction.
Being tolerant to the people coming from all religious backgrounds
is the first condition for a healthy communal atmosphere. During this
Durga puja we have to make sure that the environment remains so. Police
protection should be increased so that no vandalization or harassment