Jamshedpur Puja 2008 Diary: Saptami

The Divine Bhog:

Ah, Saptami! Finally the real action starts today!!

But first, the Bhog coupons. I knew I would not be able to wake up early enough to get those limited edition coupons, so I had requested my father in advance to do the needful. And it was finally a kind neighbor who saw my father walking to the Puja Pandal and volunteered to get them. Coupons obtained, and it was time to see some dear relatives after a late, late breakfast. We got back home late but there it was, the Bhog! All set on the dining table complete with the special vegetable and payesh. And a little helping of pickles as well!

Bhog, after 18 years! Some of you may know of my fondness for khichdi, but Bhog transcends any definition, way beyond a mere khichdi! That consistency, that right level of spices and the right level of sugar. And the earthen pots it is served in adds to the flavor. No wonder it is called “Moha-Proshad“!

Two more days of this heavenly dish! Bliss!!

The Architectural Splendors:

Today was also the day for exploring some of the grand pandals of Jamshedpur.

Or a lesson in grand architecture from around the world.

First stop at Bhuiyandih Puja Committee’s Puja Pandal. This is a replica of the Sacre Coeur Church of Paris. Perhaps it looks better than the original!

Bhuiyandih Puja Pandal

Bhuiyandih Puja Pandal

The intricate detail work is amazing:

Interior details of Bhuiyandih Puja Pandal

Interior details of Bhuiyandih Puja Pandal

Then on to Kashidih at the “Thakur Pyaara Singh Dhurandhar Singh Club”. This one is gigantic, probably based on Kailash Parbat. Or was it Kedarnath? Complete with huge statues of Lord Shiva.  And what detailing! Truly majestic!

Thakur Pyara Singh Dhurandhar Singh Club Pandal, Kasidih

Thakur Pyara Singh Dhurandhar Singh Club Pandal, Kasidih

Lord Shiva statue at the pandal

Lord Shiva statue at the pandal

And the 3-storey temple structure at L-4 Area, Sidgora. I was not able to place which famous temple this is based on, but it was impressive!

L4 Area, Sidgora Puja Pandal

L4 Area, Sidgora Puja Pandal

And the dhakis playing at the pandal were on a divine trip of their own. Each one of them in his own trance!

Dhakis at the Pandal

Dhakis at the Pandal

Care for Harry Potter’s school, Hogwarts? Find it at New Sidhgora Puja Committee’s pandal at the “Cinema Maidan“. My elder son, an avid fan of H. Potter freaked out on this one!

Hogwarts at Cinema Maidan (New Sidgora Puja Committee)

Hogwarts at Cinema Maidan (New Sidgora Puja Committee)

Then on to Thakkar Bapa Club at Dhakidih. An ethereal structure drenched in moonlight it seemed!

Thakkar Bapa Club, Dhatkidih

Thakkar Bapa Club, Dhatkidih

A closer inspection revealed thousands and thousands of silver-painted baskets which form the façade of this pandal. Check-out the close-up.

Facade Details

Facade Details

And then onto a Puja which is not famous for the pandal. But I rmember visiting this Puja each year when I was a kid. The Puja at Utkal Association. The USP of this was that the Protima was made in the same colour, year-after-year. In an off-white colour. (“Champa” colour is what one of the organizer told me today) However, this year, for some inexplicable reason they have the Protima in a mauve shade! Nothing wrong, but just that it felt a bit odd to see a non off-white statue there!

Utkal Association Protima

Change in Colour: Utkal Association Protima

The Protimas:

Just one word: marvelous! See for your self:

The Transportation and Food:

We covered a fair amount of geography today thanks to my brother-in-law who was driving us around. I am glad he offered to do this.

He took us to some of the best pandals. He knew exactly where to go and how to reach there despite some crazy traffic and with many key roads being closed. And he could always find parking close to each pandal. So minimum walking for us.

Taxi hire costs Rs 300 an hour during the Pujas! Even the humble tempo (auto-rikshaw for the non-Jamshedpurian) costs Rs 100 an hour! I had hired a car for 12 hours a few days earlier and paid just Rs 675! What a rate escalation for the Pujas!

When we were kids we would clamber onto Pitaji‘s Lambretta scooter, the youngest kid standing in the front with two or three kids sitting behind Pitaji. We would carry a wish list of the pandals we had planned to see. On return home each of the pandals seen was ticked and heated discussions took place on the favorite protimas. I do not remember any discussions around favorite pandals. Probably as they they were all of pretty much similar quality, give or take a unique design element or two.

Another wise decision taken by my brother-in-law was to separate  pandal-hopping from eating. So we had phuchkas (divine!) at the vendor next to Bengal Club, the dosa at Utkal Association (dosa crust and chutney to die for!) and egg-chicken roll (encasing succulent chicken kababs) next to Regal Cinema at Bistupur. When you need to eat, why not choose the best?

Wise decision, no?

Fun and Games:

All of us took turns at doing the Abhinav Bindra trick; Rs 5 for 5 shots. And tons of balloons to burst. So you had to be shooting in completely the reverse direction to miss bursting a balloon with any shot.

At the Shooting Range

At the Shooting Range

And buying large balloons:

Checking out the Balloons

Checking out the Balloons

And eyeing the jhoolas but too scared to climb atop fearing safety.

The jhoolas we did not ride

The jhoolas we did not ride

I discovered a favorite childhood toy. Let me attempt describing it in words: A flat circular drum fixed around a stem which when rotated at reasonably high speeds causes a short “stick” attached to the stem to strike the diaphragm of the drum and make a thoroughly pleasing (to the kid) continuous rat-tat-tat sound. Confused? See the visual below:

Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat (is there another name?)

Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat (is there another name?)

But some discouraging news on the spring-monkey front. Even today, after some diligent search, I was unable to locate the spring-monkey I referred to in my previous post.

Maybe tomorrow will be my lucky day!


You may want to read the posts on shashthi, ashtami and navami.

17 Responses to Jamshedpur Puja 2008 Diary: Saptami

  1. Dr.Seema says:

    Thank you,Santosh…it was a treat indeed!

  2. Amit Bose says:

    tears came from my eyes when i saw your comments.me in Bangalore and this the first time i was not able to attend puja in jsr.

  3. santoshojha says:

    Seema: Thanks a lot

    Amit: I hope my post did a little bit to get you to JSR, even if briefly.

  4. Jaspal Singh says:

    Nobody could have covered the Durga Puja and feeling of being part of it so well the way I can see as you are doing in this blog..



  5. Indrojit Sinha says:

    Satosh – I am virtually in Jamshedpur because of you. Thanks….

  6. subodh says:

    thanks a lot…. indeed a good work by santosh…. well its been 2 years since i hav missed puja at jsr…. so thank u again…. and plz keep it up !!

  7. santoshojha says:

    Indrojit: Thanks a lot for you comment here and on the other Diary pages as well.

    Subodh: Thanks

  8. Madhumita says:

    Santosh am speechless..

  9. shubhro says:

    Great work done! Santosh sitting back here in Delhi n viewing the Puja Pandals makes me feel at home……faboulous coverage.. cntnu doing the good work!!!!!

  10. santoshojha says:

    Madhumita: I hope this motivates you to visit JSR for next year Pujas!
    Shubhro: Maybe you could visit JSR next year for the Pujas and post some nice pics yourself for all of us to enjoy!

  11. Rupak says:

    Yes, Utkal association has changed the colour of protima. Your observation is absolutely right!!
    I wonder why!!
    Fantastic writing..


  12. santoshojha says:

    Rupak: Thanks! Utkal’s protima was a disappointment to an old-timer like me. It seems you were there for the JSR Pujas as well, is that right?

  13. Rupak says:

    Yes, I was there in JSR. I was born & brought up in Jsr, now working at Haldia, WB. What to do!, it’s my fate. I am not lucky enough to live my life in Jsr.
    Any way, fortunate enough to go to JSR once in 2 months.
    You know, what’s my last wish?
    I want to die in JSR & cremated on the bank of Subarnarekha!!
    That’s how I love Jsr.
    I request you to write more about Jsr. Your writing is wonderful!!


  14. vivek says:

    The environment during Puja is outstanding. I am staying in Pune now but feeling very depressed as compared to my childhood during Puja. Thanks for the snaps of the Pandal.

  15. sunil kumar says:

    I am enjoying Durga puja at Jamshedpur!

  16. Rajesh Dubey says:

    Dear Santosh

    Thank you for lovely infomation about pratima and pandals of jamshedpur. I am in USA and enjoying the puja by seeing your posted pictures.

  17. Indranil Seth says:

    Thanks. Felt very nostalgic.

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