The Bengali community in Auckland witnessed a massive three-day Durga Puja event at Shri Ram Mandir in Henderson.

Organised by Probasee Bengali Association of New Zealand, the three-day event was conducted from Friday, September 29 to Sunday, October 1 that saw a Kolkata style celebration of the biggest festival of the Bengali community. More than 1,200 members of the community graced the event involving not only the working professional but also senior citizens and Kiwi-born Bengali children.

“The idea to host such a big show is to make sure the community enjoys the same fervour of Durga Puja as it is celebrated in Kolkata, West Bengal, India,” one of the visitors at the event said.

Another enthusiastic performer said, “We want to involve our children so that they are in touch with their culture and they learn and continue this tradition of a great celebration even away from our home country,”

The ground floor of the venue had an ecstatic ambience with visitors rejoicing in their traditional dresses and performing dances and songs. At one corner of the hall remained a huge clay idol of Goddess Durga holding a trident, clad in a beautiful red saree, ornaments and decorated with flowers.

The men at the celebration wore the traditional kurta while women wore different types of traditional Bengali sarees such as Tant, Baluchori, Zamdani or Dhakai.

Skits, dance, singing and other activities were performed as a part of the celebration of the event.

As a practice, worshipping the idol is one of the key activities of the festival.

Community member Debes Bhattacharya and Shyamali Bhattacharya lead the idol puja (worship). Another aspect of the celebration is the ‘Thakur Baron’ (the goodbye ceremony) and ‘Sindoor Khela’, (Vermillion Games) where women throw vermillion at one another.