BENGAL: It’s a charming October evening, someplace around the last part of the 2000s. A thin, eager 16-year-old kid surges home from school, dumps his sack beneath the investigation table and gets an effectively stuffed backpack, and does a very late check. Finishing his last day at school before Durga Puja excursions, he ticks away an agenda before he’s off on a Gangotri-Cheerbas-Bhujbas-Gomukh-Tapoban journey with his family the following day.
Slice to 2020, the kid, presently a totally mature 27-year-elderly person, ‘covered’ and fairly bound by the pandemic to his home and its region, can just think back his past Puja excursions this year. Be that as it may, he has an arrangement for commending pandemic-hit Puja in an unexpected way. Deeper Majumder is investigating little towns in the edges of his old neighborhood and a portion of their customary pujas including those still run by relatives of imperial and zamindar families this year.
For Majumder, conceived and raised in Santiniketan — a spot which, despite being a piece of Bengal, has stayed a long way from the unending franticness encompassing Durga Puja — the Puja get-away consistently implied making a trip to the mountains. “There’s some association between Durga Puja and mountains for me, that has created throughout the long term… possibly on the grounds that we had consistently, with not many exemptions, arranged mountain trips during this season, as this was the main normal occasion for my folks,” he clarifies.
Because of having lived near the grounds of Visva Bharati, which follows the Brahmo Samaj’s rule of avoiding icon love, the quantity of Pujas around was less, as was the fervor encompassing those. “It’s been a long time since I have been in Santiniketan during the Pujas. I have known about close by towns like Hatserandi, where pujas are offered to goddess Durga and her kids painted on mud scenery. I have chosen to go there this time,” he says.
Another town, Moukhira, houses around 20 earthenware sanctuaries. “Here, the fascination isn’t any observed Puja, however those sanctuaries,” he says, sharing his arrangement about a bicycle excursion to the spot with a couple of companions. He will likewise swing by the conventional family-run Pujas in Ruppur, Soul, and Realtor, all at motorable good ways from Santiniketan. “All these have made it to my rundown due to their old-world appeal,” he says, conceding that the exceptionally old family pujas have consistently pulled in him more than barware (network) pujas which are excessively packed for his preferring.
At that point there is the Durga Puja in Boner Pukur Danga in the Sonajhuri region began by craftsman Badhan Das who himself used to make the icons.” This is one of the attractions in any event, for the vacationers who visit Santiniketan during the Pujas,” he says, while adding that guests should be cautious this time.
Like Majumder, many individuals in Kolkata also are searching for a much-needed refresher by driving off to places at a three-four hours’ separation, says Shibani Bhattacharya, a Kolkata-based travel planner. She sees that the crown alarm among Kolkata individuals has brought about two sorts of practices this time. “Incapable to check the level of danger outside, a few people are fatigued of voyaging, while others are heading out to evade the Kolkata swarm,” she says. “Once more, there are the individuals who have been searching for an escape from the four dividers of their homes following quite a while of limited development.”
Be that as it may, appointments are certainly low this time when contrasted with earlier years, Shibani concurs. “However, individuals who are wandering out are settling on short excursions to close by places,” she says. Aside from the famous traveler objections, for example, Digha, Mandarmani, and Kashpur, they are additionally keen on investigating Purulia, Mayapur, Nabadweep, Jhargram, and even Dooars.
The vast majority of individuals are favoring private vehicles while some are recruiting vehicles for visiting in short gatherings. “We are likewise encouraging individuals to confine their gatherings to relatives to limit the danger factor,” says Bhattacharya. The greater part of these outings are only three to four days in length, she includes.
India Tourism has arranged certain bundles in which individuals can visit pujas in close by towns, make the most of their rustic appeal and return the exact day. “There are 15-20 such Pujas recorded by India the travel industry,” Bhattacharya says.
Gargi Saha and her family are among the not many who are confiding in broad daylight transport for long visits this Autumn break. Saha, a Kolkata occupant, who will visit Kalimpong-Lolegaon and if conceivable Darjeeling soon after the Pujas will board a train to New Jalpaiguri, the railroad station closest to the slope station. Gotten some information about security concerns while boarding a train, the 24-year-old designer says, “We have no chance except to accept that the train venture is sheltered as this outing has become a need following quite a while of lockdown.”
Still not sure enough to go out of Bengal this year, the Saha family chose to agree to an objective inside Bengal, yet couldn’t discover rooms in their favored inn. “They are not letting out all the rooms all at once. They recommended we visit their post-Dashami (a day ago of Durga Pujas) when the rooms will be accessible once more.”
Shumonika Ganguly, who urgently needs to move out of Kolkata during the Pujas as a result of the surge at pandals, is likewise watching out for a sheltered spot to remain in Bolpur-Santiniketan where she intends to go with her better half and seven-year-old child. “It’s practically difficult to keep my child at home when the Dhakis’ beats come calling during the Pujas,” says Ganguly, a teacher at a Kolkata school, clearly stressed over her kid’s introduction to a horde of in any event 300-400 individuals at their para (of her territory) pandal.
On the off chance that the outing appears, the family will be heading to the objective of their vehicle. Be that as it may, the family is utilized to such outings as her significant other is an individual from Kolkata on Wheels, an association orchestrating exciting guard drives inside Kolkata to over 300 km outside the city. “In spite of the fact that Kolkata on Wheels isn’t sorting out driving outings now, we had arranged this excursion during the Pujas casually with two different families. It is one way or another didn’t work out,” Ganguly regrets. “We should check whether the three of us can move out of Kolkata this Puja,” she moans.
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