Tag Archives: Festivals

Durga Puja – Bengali style

“Festivals are like a map charting our spiritual progress in God.”

This time the city was alight with celebrations of Dussera. On the day titled, Maha Ashtami, I was witness to the Durga Puja at the Bengali Library in the heart of Dehradun.

After confirming the directions from a few friends, we made it on time for the beginning of the puja. There were drums and cymbals and a general atmosphere of festivity! It made for some really vibrant pictures…

There were drums and cymbals and a general atmosphere of festivity! It made for some really vibrant pictures…

In the modern day, LED lights take the cake in adding that special touch of colour to the pandal.

There was a lot more to be witnessed that day, however, duty called and I had to be back home…

… but not after savouring some spicy bhel puri that made the shop owner do a brisk sale in bottle water too 🙂

Here’s wishing everyone, a Happy Dussera 2012!… Shubo Bijoya!!!


(Picture painting above done by Mr. Bapun Dutta – Art teacher at Kasiga School)

Shigmo Saturday

Shigmo (Shigmotsav/Shimga) is often called the Goa’s version of Holi (Rang Panchami). The annual Shigmo parade held on Panaji’s 18th June Road is the culmination of Shigmo celebrations. The parade is a kaleidoscope of Goa’s Hindu roots through folk dances in resplendent traditional costumes and larger than life floats depicting scenes from Hindu mythology.

Shigmo Goa - the stage

There are three categories on display: fugdi, romtamel and tableaux

The procession is led by a series of such Kunbi dances (a folk dance performed by village tribal women, dressed up in colourful sarees).

Shigmo Goa - Fugdi

The Romtamel included various village groups clad in their festive colors, their pulsating drums and blowing flutes accompanied with multicolored cloths, torans, flags and column-like red spotted Dwajas

Shigmo Goa - RomtamelShigmo Goa - Romtamel

and this is the amazing goff (the ‘ribbon dance’, through co-ordinated dance moves the dancers intertwine numerous ribbons into a braid)

Shigmo Goa - Goff

These were interspersed with lots of individual fancy dress entrants…

Shigmo Goa - Individual entrantsShigmo Goa - Individual entrants

And finally came the sights that I was waiting for the whole evening… chitrarath… the shigmo floats!

It began with Laxmi bestowing blessings on everyone

Shigmo Goa - Laxmi

and a series of other floats depicting scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata

Shigmo Goa - The ExileShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo GoaShigmo Goa

The waking of Kumbakarana, complete with a two-truck long float and the evil laugh hehe hahaha (which left me in splits!) was a sure shot prize winner!

Shigmo Goa - Waking Kumbakarana

And three others that were strong contenders were:

Shigmo Goa - Heaven on a float

The heavenly abode

Shigmo Goa - Abduction of Sita

The Abduction of Sita (Sita Haran) with Rama in close pursuit

Shigmo Goa and The Dance of Shiva

Shigmo stands in stark contrast with the commercialisation of Carnival. It is truly a celebration of community, culture and creativity.