Jamshedpur Puja 2008 Diary: Navami

The final day today for visiting pandals, and what a glorious three days it has been! Here are some vignettes from today.

People:

That we saw an immense number of people on the streets this evening would be a gross understatement.

Let me try to give you an idea. Add all the people on the street at a given point in time on each of the three days of Shashthi, Saptami and Ashtami. Multiple this figure by two. This perhaps would give you an idea of the the crowds this evening.

All dressed in their festive fineries and moving on foot, two-wheelers, cars, tempos, SUV’s, buses. (In earlier times, groups of people would even hire trucks for this purpose).

Moving, moving, moving.

Moving from one pandal to the other. Sometimes pausing for a snack, or to buy a toy or two for their children. But moving all the time. Racing against time to catch up with all the pandals on their wish-lists. The festivities of Durga Puja are coming to a close. How can they not pay their respects to Maa Durga at the maximum locations possible! (some 250-260 in Jamshedpur this year)

Pandals:

More about the crowds, later. Now a quick recap of the great pandals of Jamshedpur, those architectural marvels. Each pandal better than the other. Each created with creativity and a sense of aesthetics. Have a quick look for yourself.

Pandal at TRF Colony, Telco

Pandal at TRF Colony, Telco

26 Number Road, Telco pandal

26 Number Road, Telco pandal

Pardon the bad picture quality. This pandal is made of leaves (tal patra?). Look at the fine detailing on the ceiling of the pandal.

Ceiling Details of 26 number road, Telco Pandal

Ceiling Details of 26 number road, Telco Pandal

"White House" Pandal near Gujarati Sanatan Samaj

The “White House” pandal near Gujarati Sanatan Samaj

Farm Area Pandal

Farm Area Pandal

And take a look at this one at Telco, Hill Top School area:

The kind I remember from the past

Hill Top School Area Pandal: The kind I remember from the past

A traditional structure, the ones I grew up seeing in my childhood. This sort must be a rarity these days.

And of course the one at the hugely popular Sabuj Kalyan Sangh at Telco where the Protima is placed in an auditorium.

Sabuj Kalyan Sangh, Telco

Auditorium as venue: Sabuj Kalyan Sangh, Telco

Protimas:

The Protimas, of course, are as well made as ever. Here are some of the Protimas we saw today:

Protima at TRF Colony, Telco

Protima at TRF Colony, Telco

Protima at 26 number road, Telco

Protima at 26 number road, Telco

Sabuj Kalyan Sangh

Sabuj Kalyan Sangh

Protima at Farm Area

Protima at Farm Area

Crowds, again:

I have been told a lot about the pandal in Adityapur which attracts millions of visitors. So much so that the Kharkai bridge is closed to traffic for several hours starting early evening to pre-dawn to make way for the waiting devotees keen to have darshan at the pandal. I did visit the pandal, but that was on Panchami day, just after the inauguration, to beat the crowds.

But even the crowds we saw today in the Telco area near Sabuj Kalyan, between Golmuri and Sakchi, the stretch between Uliyan and Kadma and at Sonari was overwhelming.

Take for example Sabuj Kalyan Sangh, Telco, which attracts a large number of visitors. The crowds were well controlled by the volunteers and security personnel but I still kept worrying about losing track of my children in that crowd of thousands. And I kept hearing constant announcements through our stay at the venue. Like, “Gwaala Basti key Mohan Kumar aap jahaan kahin bhi hon yahan aa jaaiye. Aapki bachchi bahut der sey aapka intizaar kar rahi hai.” Or, “Ghadi park ka Raju….” etc etc.

Crowds at Sabuj Kalyan Sangh against backdrop of jhoolas

Crowds at Sabuj Kalyan Sangh mela against backdrop of jhoolas

It was quite a task to negotiate our way in and our way out of the Sabuj Kalyan pandal. We were tempted to check out the massive mela at the venue, but found the task quite daunting and gave up!

Puja Samitis:

Hats of to them in keeping alive the multi-lingual and multi-cultural ethos of the city. And presenting to the visitors remarkably well-made pandals, most, of course, being near replicas of well-known temples and architectural landmarks. All made by creative artists from all over.

In Jamshedpur, Durga Puja festival is not limited to Bengalis alone but it belongs to all!

Personal:

But where is the Spring-Monkey?

But where is the Spring-Monkey?

The hunt for my spring-monkey has drawn a blank. Those following my posts on Puja over the last few days would have read about this search. I have lost all hopes now after four days. I do not think my spring-monkey will be available again. Life needs to move on, and I should stop fretting about this. Some may wonder why I hold the spring-monkey so dear and why its absence saddens me so much. Maybe one day I will do another post, a post devoted to my spring-monkey.

Post Script: Thank you dear readers for your responses to this series of posts which began as a small personal thing initially but I can tell you it has got rather unexpected response from readers all over. I will try to do a post tomorrow for Bijoya, but I thought it appropriate to convey my thanks today itself to all you readers for being with me on this journey through the Pujas! Do let me know how you found the overall series. You may either comment directly on this blog or write to me at santoshojha@gmail.com

You may want to read the coverage of shashthi, saptami and ashtami.

16 Responses to Jamshedpur Puja 2008 Diary: Navami

  1. Dr.Seema says:

    Well what can I say! I thoroughly enjoyed going through the writeups and the pictures. Infact I kept hoping you would find your spring-monkey!🙂
    A treat ended for all of us who have grown up with Durga Puja,the pandals,the lightings(which I sorely missed here at Bangalore),the crowds,the eating outside at stalls,the ‘khilonewallas’, the balloons…….
    Thanks you,Santosh!

  2. Dr.Seema says:

    Well I had written earlier and I dont know what happened? Where did my message go?🙂
    Anyways what I had written was thank you,Santosh for letting us in the “JSR” puja. It was indeed a treat am sure for all of us people who have grown up with Durga Puja (beautiful pandals,protimas,crowd during that period,lightings{which I really missed in Bangalore when I went to see the protimas here},eating out on the streets, khilonewallas,balloon wala,etc etc…….).
    The write ups were thoroughly enjoyable and the pics were good too.
    Thanks once again…

  3. santoshojha says:

    Seema: Thanks a lot for your encouraging comments through the last few days. Comments such as yours kept me going; visiting pandals till late and then writing the posts. I am glad that my posts brought back some old memories to you. I am back now in Bangalore and we must catch up soon.

  4. santoshojha says:

    Seema: Sorry. I just found your previous comment in the spam folder. Wonder why it was marked as spam! Anyway, here it is now. The spring-monkey is lost forever, alas! Maybe in another post I will talk about my spring-monkey.

  5. Tejaswita says:

    Hi Santosh,
    Read all your postings on Durga Puja in JSR ..You made me relive the memories..May be i should plan a trip next puja to jsr…Thanks a ton

  6. santoshojha says:

    Tejaswita: Do that; visit JSR next year for the Pujas! It really is great fun.

  7. Rupak says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experience..
    All I can say, there is some uniqueness is there in Jsr Durga puja..

    regards

  8. Amit Kumar Das says:

    Each one on Pujo is brilliant Santosh..

  9. santoshojha says:

    Rupak: Thanks. Indeed there is a uniqueness in JSR Durga Puja! I felt this all over again this year, even after nearly two decades.
    Amit: Thanks a lot!

  10. Sean Jones says:

    Hi Santosh,
    My wife Belinda and I enjoyed watching all the pics. We were particularly fascinated by the Hill Top one as I used to live nearby. Brought back fond memories for the two of us.
    Keep ’em comin’ Cheers!!
    Sean

  11. santoshojha says:

    Hi Belinda and Sean: I am glad this piece brought back some old memories to you guys now Down Under! And to share with you, I was pleasantly surprised at the readership of my Puja pieces across geographies.

  12. Monalisa Roy says:

    Dear Santosh,

    I know i am late by more than a year but what you conveyed was 2 good. I loved it. It made me go back to my childhood when my dad use to take me n my brother in his Bajaj Chetak to one pandal to another.Its ten years i left Jamshedpur but i still visit every year during Pujas. There is something that pulls me there. Me and my friends use to wait for Pujas to come and we use to run to take the first train to come to Jamshedpur.Old memories have become new again. Thanks a ton.

    Monalisa.
    Loves Jamshedpur

  13. Raj Prasad says:

    I am originally from Jamshedpur, but have not visited during Durga pooja in last 35 years. I miss it very much. I would appreciate some photo’s or video’s of the Puja, particularly of the beautiful idols (the Utkal ones).
    Please post some photos or upload to youtube.

  14. Krishna says:

    I know it is very late response to this mail.
    But, memories would never die, they just need to be thrusted. I left this city 6 years back and been nostalgic.

    Thankyou for revamping my memmories and thanks again making me aware of the crowd (which i’ve seen not decreasing in all the years I’ve been there)but definitely will remember and take care.

    Thanks A Ton.
    Keep `em coming ::: CHEERS.

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