Monday, 30th October 2017

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Festivities in faraway land

Durga Puja held for the first time in Chelmsford

By Aniruddha Biswas in Chelmsford
  • Published 22.10.18, 2:04 AM
  • Updated 22.10.18, 2:04 AM
  • a min read
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Durga Puja at Writtle Christian Centre Agencies

As Bengalis in Chelmsford (UK) queued up for anjali at Writtle Christian Centre, it marked the beginning of Durga Puja here, a first for the city.

Devotees soaked in the festivities with dhaak, dhunuchinaach and mishtimukh from October 19 to 21. A garba party was held as well.

The Chelmsford Hindu Society was formed in 2016 with a view to building a temple/a place of worship for residents.

Rajesh Kumar, one of the organisers, said: “The Chelmsford Hindu Society has been holding various fund-raising events over the past few years and the idea of hosting our very first Durga Puja took shape earlier in 2018. We have come a long way over the past two years and have grown from strength to strength. We finally opened our first Shri Sanatana Shakti Mandir on Panchami. This is one of the biggest events the group has organised and one of the many journeys the group will undertake every year to build their permanent temple in Chelmsford.”

Discussions started in early 2018 and the group started off with voluntary financial contributions. The group also succeeded in securing contributions from corporate houses.

The organising committee had representatives from all over India and the puja, despite having a multicultural focus, is held in a traditional way.

“Starting from getting the idol from Kumartuli to organising khichuri bhog, the puja has all the hallmarks of tradition,” said Chelmsford resident Debalina Gupta.

The festival brought the community together. The organisers had also invited members of the larger South Asian community, local councillors and the mayor, among others.

The Chelmsford Hindu Society has embarked on a journey to build a Maa Adi Prashakti temple here. The deity is believed to be the Supreme Being Goddess in the shakta sect of Hinduism.

Over the years, the number of Durga pujas in the UK and the rest of the western world has increased manifold.

From two or three pujas in the 80s and 90s, there are now more than 20 pujas in London.