Eighty two is probably not the age to choose up the standard Bengali drum however for Kohor Singha Das, the Durga and Kali puja pageant at Shankar Niwas in Darjeeling’s Tindharia is particular this 12 months.
Began by some Bengali clergymen who settled down within the hills within the final century, the puja has turned 100 this 12 months.
Though the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the festive spirit in most elements of the nation, Tindharia, a small city within the hills of Darjeeling, is all set to have a good time the pageant with grandeur.
Bringing again reminiscences of the outdated custom, the puja committee has constructed the idol on the location as a substitute of shopping for one from the artisans in Siliguri, north Bengal’s greatest city positioned 27 kilometres away within the plains. It was in 1962 when the idol was made at Shankar Niwas for the final time.
Although troubled by illnesses, Das is all set to play the drum which is an integral a part of Durga puja festivities. “I’ve been doing this since 1962. I’ll play so long as I reside,” mentioned the octogenarian. Though the puja was began by Bengali clergymen, folks from totally different communities are actually a part of the festivities at Tindharia, mentioned the organisers.
It’s the third oldest Durga puja within the area. The puja held at Nripendra Narayan Bengali Hindu Corridor in Darjeeling enters its 106th 12 months whereas the one at Raj Rajeswari Corridor in Kurseong turns 104.
Not like the one at Tindharia, the opposite two festivals have been scaled down this 12 months due to the pandemic. Folks won’t be allowed to have prasad or any type of meals gadgets at these websites.
Nowraj Chettri, secretary of the Durga and Kali puja committee at Tindharia, mentioned, “We are going to carry out the puja with extra sincerity and search blessing from the Goddess. All well being protocols will probably be strictly adopted.”
The top priest of the puja, Keshari Prasad Bandopadhyay, lives in Kolkata however involves the hills yearly. In 2017, when life within the hills was paralysed by a 104-day basic strike known as by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in demand for a state of Gorkhaland, the puja was scaled down. Bandopadhyay nonetheless didn’t fail to show up.
Das, too, performed the drums in 2017. “If folks in Tindharia may manage puja regardless of the strike, no energy can cease this puja. It’s a part of my life,” he mentioned.