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Festival of colours

Salt Lake soaks in Holi revelry

The Telegraph gets you the details of how the township soaked itself in colour

Our Bureau | Published 10.03.23, 12:00 PM
A spring celebration at BD Park.

A spring celebration at BD Park.

Picture by Debasmita Bhattacharjee


Ward 41 celebrated Sunday evening with colours, music and dance at BD Park as councillor Ratna Bhowmik organised Basanta Utsav. More than 70 dancers and 50 singers took part in the celebration.


The evening began with dancers performing around the audience to the tune of Ore grihobashi. The girls matched the celebration mood dressed in colourful saris and ornaments, with garlands tied to their hair, while the male performers matched their kurtas with colourful uttoriyos.

Ankita Doloi, 9, had worn a yellow sari with a wig of long hair left loose. She danced in the opening performance with her group but was happy to wait for the rest of the evening with her friends in her complete attire. “I am so excited; I am loving my look. My recital is over. Now we are dancing on the side whenever others are dancing,” smiled the Kestopur resident. Samadrita Jana also had the same hair style, though the clips in the hair were troubling her. She had had her hair done hours back but was happy to remain in that get-up. “Amake besh bhalo lagchhe. I love wearing sari. I do not have any problem in dancing in them,” added the nine year old.

Songs like Aji dokhino duar khola, Ami pothbhola ek pathik , Rangiye diye jao, Phagun legechhe bone, O amar chander alo and more filled the musical evening.

A group called Sankalp danced to various songs but their performance to Bhanushingher padaboli was the most appreciated. “We are very excited to be here today. We try to present our choreography in a different manner and it is always special when we dance to Tagore's songs. We tried to express the joy that this season of colours rouses within us,” said Sayan Ghosh, choreographer of Sankalp group.

The youngest audience member, Manthan Mitra, aged all of one year and dressed in a cute dhoti-panjabi, did not cry a single time despite the loud music and happily waved to the beat as he saw his grandmother Kumkum Mitra sing along with her Parampara group. “He is enjoying himself. Even when his grandmother sings at home, he quietly sits next to her,” said his mother.

“In my first year as councillor in this ward, we tried to bring a feel of Santiniketan in our Basanta Utsav here today as it is not always possible for people to go and enjoy the festival In Tagore’s land,” said Bhowmik.

Shatadipa Bhattacharya


Rituals being performed in front of the Holika dahan fire in AE Block

Rituals being performed in front of the Holika dahan fire in AE Block

Holi celebrations started a day early on Monday evening at AE Block part 2, as is their ritual for 22 years now.

Two sets of wooden logs were arranged — one for chanchor and the other for Holika dahan, which is a more ritualistic event. “We have been organising chanchor which is called burir ghor porano in homely terms for the last 22 years. It is a tradition that we have seen since our childhood¸ in which we burn everything negative. We have done these things in our childhood and we want our next generation to know about them. It is also said that these rituals disinfect the air and kills germs. Our kids should also know about such things. And for 15 years now, we have also been organising Holika dahan, which is a ritual our non-Bengali neighbours follow. So we organise it for them and we all come together for the celebration,” said Tapas Sengupta, secretary of AE Block Samajkalyan Sangha.

Residents peel and chop vegetables after chanchor. (Shatadipa Bhattacharya)

Residents peel and chop vegetables after chanchor. (Shatadipa Bhattacharya)

Women smear each other with abir during Holika dahan in AE Block. Pictures by Debasmita Bhattacharjee

Women smear each other with abir during Holika dahan in AE Block. Pictures by Debasmita Bhattacharjee

While residents witnessed the burir ghor porano, they also awaited the prasad of potatoes that were roasted in the fire. Ten kilos of potatoes were roasted, which were then peeled, sliced and mixed by the ladies club members with cucumber and tomato slices and were distributed among those present. “This is an extra attraction we have for coming for the burir ghor pora. We used to have such mashed potatoes in our childhood,” said Parna Mukherjee, a block resident.

This year, the Holika dahan timing was before 5am, so many residents performed their puja the evening before. “It is too early in the morning so we are offering our prayers now as I am not sure if I can come so early,” said Bhawani Mehta, who was seen performing the puja with her seven-year-old daughter.

The next morning the committee also organised Dol khela in front of the Part 2 community hall, after which snacks and thandai were served.

“We have been organising Dol Utsav for 36 years now. Earlier, we used to walk the lanes and play colours with everyone. Then in the evening, residents would set up food stalls which sold items prepared by them. Over time, the response started getting muted so we organise Dol khela in front of the community hall now and ask people over. This year, children are also coming out and playing which is such a heartwarming sight,” said Monimoy Saha, president of the committee.

Shatadipa Bhattacharya


Women sing a medley of songs at the children’s  park in BA Block

Women sing a medley of songs at the children’s park in BA Block

More than 150 BA Block residents —from children to octogenarians — sang and danced in and around Children’s Park opposite Utsarga, the community centre of Salt Lake City BA Block Residents’ Association, to celebrate Doljatra on Tuesday.

The annual celebration began with nagar sankirtan, a procession around the block, to Tagore songs on spring such as Ore grihobasi and Phagun hawaye hawaye, etc.

What followed was a cultural show held at the Children’s Park titld Basonto Jagrata Dware, a medley of songs — both Bengali and Hindi — and dance numbers by the block’s women and girls.

“It is always wonderful joining the nagar sankirtan and Dol utsav in our block. It makes me relive my childhood memories,” said Pabitra Sarkar, 87, a retired state government employee, and a resident of the block for more than 45 years.

Ishita Nath, chairperson of the cultural sub-committee of BA Block, spoke highly of the block’s rich local talent. “Bengalis and cultural programmes go hand in hand and heart to heart, especially on an occasion like Doljatra,” said Sucharita Chatterjee, one of the conveners of the cultural sub-committee, and mother of a 23-year-old IT professional.

The day’s festivities were preceded by nyara pora the evening before, a ritual bonfire that marks the triumph of good over evil.


Girls play with colours at Greenfield Heights in New Town

Girls play with colours at Greenfield Heights in New Town

This year saw residents of Greenfield Heights in Action Area 1 welcome spring by celebrating Basanta Utsav for the first time in the complex.

Draped in bright yellow saris and decked in marigold ornaments, little girls walked around the complex matching steps to the rhythm of Tagore songs welcoming spring like Aji dokhin duwar khola.

Women of the complex showered flower petals on the little dancers and tossed abir in the air in fistfuls to add colour to the sight.

The programme was an initiative of residents Sathi Mondal and Somdipa Nayak, while Tamasree Banerjee and Kamalika Addhya choreographed the dance moves of the children — all in a bid to introduce the flavour of Santiniketan in the complex.

The youngest participant was five-year-old Ishani Das, who performed enthusiastically in her own yellow Kanchivaram sari as part of a group, dancing to Ore bhai fagun legechhe.

“This is an expression of our joy lit up by Tagore after years lost to the pandemic,” said Sathi, who mooted the programme.

The event was coordinated by Kuldeep Biswas, who arranged to get the sound system and mic, and also joined the children in singing songs of spring on the move. An auto-rickshaw carried the sound box at the back.

Payel Chatterjee, mother of 10-year-old Suhani, thanked the two in-house choreographers and all the children who performed. “We are new members of the society and it was an absolutely heart-warming experience. Suhani was so excited to perform with her friends,” she said.

Urmimala Dasgupta, Greenfield Heights

Last updated on 10.03.23, 12:00 PM

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