2013 Durga Puja in New Delhi
The ritual of celebrating Durga Puja began in Delhi at around 1910. Puja was executed by ritually blessing the Mangal Ghata which was the symbol of Devi (Goddess) Pratima puja began in 1912. A year in advance, when Delhi was legitimately declared British India’s capital, there was foremost raise in Bengali population because of shifting of government offices there.
From 1948 to till today, Durga puja of Kashmere Gate remains amongst the most popular and is hosted by people across the capital. Durga Puja celebrations were resounded in 1950, with sound of ‘Dhaks’. During those days, locals played puja percussionists so Dhakis weren’t come from Kolkata.
The first joint Bijoya march was taken place in 1952. Before this, it was part of Ramlila march. That year also saw Goddess Durga’s Kashmere Gate idol, being taken on bullock cart. This tradition is still maintained.
In 2009, the Kashmere Gate Durga Puja Samiti is ready to reconstruct the magic during its anniversary celebrations from matchless craftsmanship which goes into creating Goddess idol, organize traditional pujas, up to captivation where bullock cart carry the Goddess idol. Fascinatingly, capital's oldest puja turns out to be eco-friendly also.
When the capital gears up for celebrations of Durga Puja with pandals coming in numerous colonies, Kashmere Gate gathering will be a delightful occasion for all Delhiites because, it will connect them to tradition which is 100 years older. The Samiti is also ready to bring to light the tradition and culture which puja pandals have been displaying over the last century.
The Samiti is also giving an eco-friendly note on its anniversary. To start with, the Goddess idol will be prepared of eco-friendly material so that Yamuna River doesn’t become polluted after fascination. In addition to that, the colors used for painting the idol would also have shades of vegetable dye-based. Non eco-friendly accessories will be detached before final send-off. Whereas, clothes ornamented by idols of Goddess would be given to poor and flowers gathered during puja will be given to an NGO to make eco-friendly colors.