Durga pujas which takes place in various parts of Bangalore are quite a distance apart. So on the day of Ashtami, we hired a car to see the pandals. An Etios sedan for 8 hours – 80 KM should not cost more than Rs 1000 but for the last moment booking I was ok with Rs 1200. Overall I am happy with that amount as the driver was good and well versed with the routes.
We started our tour around 4 PM and headed to Kundalahalli durga puja. In Kundalahalli, the puja takes place at VSR Convention Hall or Kalyana Mantapa on ITPL road. I have been visiting this puja for few times now. It do not get that crowded but have decent amenities in place. The highlight of this pandal is the beautiful idol of goddess Durga.
Then we headed to Koramangala. From 2015 I am noticing that two durga pujas taking place under the name Sarathi albeit in a little different name – Sarathi Socio Cultural Trust and Sarathi Cultural Association. The puja by Sarathi Socio Cultural Trust takes place at Mangala Kalyana Mantapa, 80 Feet road, Koramangala. For visitors apart from doing darshan of goddess Durga, this place is a foodies paradise. Good food outlets / restaurants setup their stalls here. Prices are little bit on the upper side but you will be happy with the food you get to eat here. You will also be happy to hear that free parking facility is available. After parking our car, first we went for darshan inside the Kalyana Mantapa. Then it was feast time. I noticed that Royal restaurant of Kolkata has opened a stall here. Other two members went for veg paneer roll (Rs 100) and I savoured non veg chicken roll (Rs 100). I also went for a chicken stick (Rs 100) which was very tasty. I would say this is one of the best Durga Puja in Bangalore and given that it takes place at a prime location like Koramangala, the pandel could be pretty crowded. They also organize good cultural / entertainment programs over the 4 / 5 days of puja. Upcoming bollywood singer Anwesha Dutta Gupta performed here this time.
Next we went to Sarathi Cultural Association puja. To reach there we had to walk little bit. This puja takes place on a ground besides Koramangala 80 Feet road park. The idol of goddess Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh were very beautiful. There were not much food stalls and the cutlets we had were not that great. However, this pandal manages to get good artists to perform. This time they had Bhoomi, a Bengali band which specializes in folk songs. Earlier, I had never heard Bhoomi’s songs but one of our accomplice pointed to Bhoomi after seeing their lead singer Soumitra Roy who was doing sound check on stage. Bhoomi’s performance was very entertaining with songs like Lale Laleshwari, Sohag Chand etc. That day our plan was to cover Kundalahalli puja, Koramangala, Palace ground and Bengali Association grand puja in Ulsoor. To watch Bhoomi’s performance we cancelled visit to Palace ground. After Bhoomi’s performance there was a huge rush at the exit. I feel the organisers should anticipate such situations and should have plans in place to manage better.
Around 10 PM we left Koramangala to reach RBAMNs ground in Ulsoor for the Bengali Association Durga puja. As expected there was traffic on the road leading to the ground. So got down from the car and walked little bit to reach the pandal. There dhunuchi dance performance was going on. This is dance done with incense in front of goddess Durga. One of the boy did a awesome performance. This is the biggest and best Durga puja in Bangalore. It is said to have around 15000 to 20,000 foot falls on the days of puja. There are huge arrays of food stalls. One can also find stalls for imitation jewellery, builders, amway etc. They provide lunch on the days of puja. One can buy coupon in this regard but I have not seen them telling no to people who do not have coupon. Also, it terms of entertainment they get the some of the best people to perform. This time they had Anwesha Dutta Gupta on Navami. Last year they had Cactus. We left the pandal around 11 Pm and reached our house by 11.30 PM. Been a very entertaining and satisfying day. Thank you Maa Durga.
At Sarathi Cultural Association Durga puja, Koramangala
RBAMNS ground, Bengali Association Durga puja, Ulsoor
Anwesha Dutta Gupta performing at Bengali Association Durga puja, Ulsoor
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