The idol at Behala Debdaru Fatak Sarbojanin Durgotsav. Picture by Rashbehari Das
The weatherman has forecast fair weather this Puja. “There is no chance of a low-pressure area or any such system forming now. Barring isolated, localised thundershowers, the weather should be dry. This Puja will not be a washout,” assures Gokul Chandra Debnath, the director of the Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore. The night and early morning temperatures have started to fall a notch or two below the normal of 25 degrees Celsius for this time of the year. So expect a hint of chill if out pandal-hopping all night or on an early morning trip to Belur.
IF THERE’S A NIP IN THE AIR
Layer with stoles, shrugs or jackets while going pandal-hopping. Designer Agnimitra Paul recommends jersey gilets and shrugs to stay warm. “It’s something you can keep on for an entire day or carry in your bag and slip into when you are feeling cold. It can also be rolled into a ball and carried in the tiniest of bags,” says Agnimitra. If you have a friendly neighbourhood tailor who’s willing to fashion a jacket for you in triple quick time, get one made in a “lightweight yet textured fabric like matka silk or khadi” to pair with jeans or even saris. And remember, a good moisturising lip balm is your best friend.
Some of the roads that would be closed to traffic from 4pm on Sashthi to 2am on Saptami; 4pm on Saptami to 4am on Ashtami; 4pm on Ashtami to 4am on Navami; and 4pm on Navami to 4am on Dashami.
North and Central Calcutta
Nandaram Sen Street
BK Pal Avenue
Jadunath Mallik Street
Surya Sen Street
BB Ganguly Street, from Raja Rammohan Roy Sarani crossing to AJC Bose Road
Ramesh Chatterjee Road
Mandeville Gardens Road
Ekdalia Road between Gariahat Road and Mandeville Gardens
Jodhpur Park Second Lane
Kali Temple Road
Jadavpur, Behala and Port division
Raja Subodh Mullick Road from the EM Bypass Link Road to VIP Bypass Road crossing
NSC Bose Road
Michael Dutta Street
Ramnath Patel Road
Hemchandra Street, from Padmapukur to Kabitirtha Sarani crossing
Noise from microphones must be limited to 65 decibel on the festival days. Microphones cannot be used between 10pm and 6am except to make emergency announcements. Report noise-norm violations at the Lalbazar police control room (22143230) or the local police station. Those outside the Calcutta police area can dial the DG control room (22145486). Violations can also be reported at the state pollution control board control room between 5pm and 11pm on Puja days (23358212, 23353913 and 18003453390, which is toll-free). Teams of the pollution control board will patrol the city.
According to the taxi associations, about 30,000 yellow cabs would ply in the city during Puja. The Bengal Taxi Association will reserve taxis for pandal-hoppers at 24753505 and 24742249. The charge is Rs 220 per hour for a minimum of four hours. Senior citizens will get 10 per cent discount.
In case of taxi refusal, alert the nearest cop or dial the helplines (9830010000 and 9830811111).
Dial 41414141 for Puja packages by Mega Cabs at Rs 1,180 (4 hours/40km) and Rs 1,680 (6 hours/60km). Charge for extra hours is Rs 150 per hour and extra kilometres is Rs 15 per km. Parking fee and toll taxes extra.
2pm to 4am next day
(2pm to 6pm — 10 min; 6pm to 10pm — 8 min; and 10pm to 4am — 15 min)
Ashtami and Navami
2pm to 4am next day
(2pm to 5pm — 10 min; 5pm to midnight — 7 min; and midnight to 4am — 15 min)
4pm to 9.45pm
(4pm to 5pm — 10 min; 5pm to 9pm — 8 min; and 9pm to 9.45pm — 15 min)
Emergency helpline: 100
Lalbazar control room: 22143024/ 22143230/ 22141310
Traffic control room: 22143644/ 22141457
Writers’ Buildings control room: 22143674/ 22544169
Children helpline: 1098
Missing persons squad: 22505153/ 22141430
Senior citizen helpline: 9830088884
Anti-stalking helpline (ASK): 8017100100
Helpline for women in distress: 1091
CESC control room: 9831079666/ 9831083700
CESC consumer complaint No.: 1912
CMC control room: 22861212/ 22861313/ 22861414
Breakdown services: 24866810/ 24865131/ 24865132/ 24865133
Fire brigade: 22521165/ 22523170/ 22523101/ 22522225
Medical helpline (Calcutta police): 9830079999
Central Blood Bank (Maniktala): 23510619
Ashoke Blood Bank: 24720333
Life Care: 22846940
Bhoruka Research Centre: 22448092
Ashtami is a dry day while Dashami is dry after 3pm. The rules are the same for bars, restaurants, clubs and off-shops this year. On the other Puja days, bars and restaurants can serve liquor till 2am, if they apply in advance by paying Rs 10,000 for each hour they plan to remain open after midnight.
True Spirit: Safety, civic consciousness and social commitment will be the watchwords for the judges of CESC The Telegraph True Spirit Puja, in association with Vedic Realty and GD Hospital & Diabetes Institute, as they cover 280 pujas across the city on Friday and Saturday. Big budgets and pretty idols won’t win points, crowd management and traffic control, first-aid provisions, fire and power hazard precautions and efficiency in crisis management will. The parameters of civic consciousness include efficiency in waste management, eco-friendliness and absence of noise pollution. Celebrity judges will visit five shortlisted pujas on October 21 to decide which of them will make it to the Four Star and Five Star categories. The puja with the highest score will become the Model Puja.
Hand In Hand: Hundred housing complexes will enjoy four days of non-stop festive fun courtesy The Telegraph Hand In Hand. While the young ones can look forward to Sit-and-Draw, those with a flair for cooking can participate in the Recipe Contest. Sign up for the traditional favourite, Spot Quiz, or show off your special talent in Three Minutes to Fame. Couples can test their compatibility quotient at Sriman Srimati. Our recommendation? Dhunuchi Naach and the all-new Shankh Bajao contests.
Festival Of Joy: The Telegraph Festival of Joy, presented by Euroclean Vacuum Cleaner from Eureka Forbes, will make sure that the pujas closest home are safe and secure. Fifty apartment complexes will be vying for the tags of Model Apartment Puja, Five Star Apartment Puja and Four Star Apartment Puja. Civic consciousness, community participation and social commitment are the parameters on which they will be judged.
Euroclean Vacuum Cleaner from Eureka Forbes Clean & Green Homes is also a part of the scheme. Six apartments will vie for the second edition of the prize, to be given to the greenest, plastic-free complex.
Choto Chokhe Boro Pujo: On Sashthi, 50 children from 20 schools will visit 40 pujas for Idea presents TTIS Choto Chokhe Boro Pujo, in association with GD Hospital & Diabetes Institute and the Alchemist Group. Based on the scores given by the children, five pujas will be shortlisted. On Ashtami, all the children along with actor Shaheb Bhattacherjee, his father and football great Subrata Bhattacherjee, and Malini Bhagat, the principal of Mahadevi Birla World Academy, will visit the shortlisted pujas. Nine of the 40 pujas can win prizes with one winner, two runners up and more prizes for best idea, best idol, green puja and three judges’ choice awards.
Vaseline Pujo Ready: Vaseline Pujo Ready, in association with Anandabazar Patrika, is looking for four women who are walking that extra mile to get ready for Puja. Get clicked at the Vaseline Pujo Ready zones on the pandal premises at Laboni Estate, 66 Pally, Howrah Mandirtala or Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha and you could be among the four lucky winners to get featured in Anandabazar Patrika and go on a dinner date with four Tollywood stars.
Royal Stag Catch the Flight: Buckle up for a bird’s-eye view of Puja, courtesy Royal Stag Catch the Flight, in association with t2, from Behala Flying Club on Dashami, 8.30am.
Dandiya: Discover your twinkle toes at Gurukul Dandiya Mahotsav in association with t2 at Swabhumi (October 21 to October 24, 7pm onwards), Dandiotsav in association with t2 at Nalban gate No. 6 (October 21 to October 23, 6pm onwards), Jhalak 2012 in association with t2 at Nalban gate No. 1 (October 21 to 23, 6pm to 2am) and Dandiya Raas 2012 presented by New Heights Classy Events in association with t2 at Mani Square Penetti Banquets (October 20 to 23, 7pm to 2am). Expect special performances and appearances by celebrities like Sunny Leone, Veena Malik and Sagarika Ghatge.
TV tip: Stuck at home? You can catch all the action in the comfort of your living room. ABP Ananda’s campaign Ghare Boshey Mega Pujo — Sharad Ananda 2012 will make sure you do not miss any aspect of Puja in Calcutta. Dhunuchi naach, beats of dhak, pretty ladies in red-and-white saris participating in sindur khela — watch it all on ABP Ananda till Dashami.
Chowdhury Barir Puja, a spoof animation based on Bhooter Bhobishyot, is also a part of the campaign, which is being aired on ABP Ananda. The promotional video called Ghare Boshey Mega Pujo was uploaded on YouTube on October 14 at midnight, just before Mahalaya, and has gone viral since.