“Why Durga Puja? We Bengalis survive on Durga Puja, food and oxygen. Yes, in that order.”

The five days of festivities for Bengalis all over the world was celebrated with great fervour and enthusiasm. Those who were not able to come back home for the Puja brought Mini Bengals to life in their own adopted counties of living. The homecoming of Maa Durga, the most famous of expats- who left Bengal and started living at Mount Kailash after her marriage with Lord Shiva, is equally celebrated by the Probashi (expats) Bengalis, be it UK, Africa or Europe.

With Bijoy Dashami (the returning back of Maa Durga to her abode) marking the end of the most awaited time of the year for Bengalis, we leave you with glimpses of ‘Sharod Sampriti’, the Durga Puja in Germany’s Munich, organized for the first time ever by the Indian Bengali diaspora. Sampriti München e.V,  the group which organized the event was formed in 2014 to provide ‘the Bengali diaspora of South Germany a platform for socio-cultural integration and support.’

Staying true to Sampriti’s motto of embracing German society in its endeavour, while staying anchored to Indian traditions, Sharod Sampriti’s Durga Puja celebrations reflected the same socio-cultural integration. The Puja was done with traditional rituals and the cultural event was a mix of East-meets-West.

Here’s a walkthrough ‘Sharod Sampriti’:

Maa Durga’s idol was sourced from Kumartuli, Kolkata. Arrangements were made in advance for the idol to be shipped on time in Munich. (Photo: Tufan Das)
Keeping the emphasis on sincerity of the Puja rituals a renowned priest was flown in from West Bengal. (Photo: Sandeep Sen)

 

The whole arrangements for the Puja were made by the team since last year. “Whenever someone went to Bengal they brought in some pujo stuff like the samagri, and utensils with their restricted luggage.” 
(Photo: Sandeep Sen)

 

A local band performance. (Photo: Ranadeep Dhar)

 

The highlight of the many cultural events organized for the Puja was the International Cultural Evening .  Hungarian dance. (Photo: Rohini Lahiri)

 

Spanish Flamenco dance performance. (Photo: Joydeep Chatterjee)

 

Russian dancers dancing on semi classical numbers. (Photo: Joydeep Chatterjee)

 

A special comic theatrical performance ‘Bheem Bodh’ by Sampriti members. (Photo: Ranadeep Dhar)

 

It was a true symbol of integration wherein people from other cultures participated and enjoyed the Durga Puja. (Photo: Sandeep Sen)

 

To have ‘adda’ and food sessions Sampriti members have put in traditional and sumptuous food stall. (Photo: Sutapa Basu)

 

Munich Durga Puja had a signature Bijoya Dashami with women wearing white and red saris smearing each others with vermillion, celebrating the good over evil and anticipating Maa Durga’s return to her maternal home next year. (Photo: Ranadeep Dhar)

 

The Sharod Sampriti team. The uphill task of organizing the Durga Puja with a handful of members was sailed past with a huge team effort and planning since the last year. A Pujo committee was formed to give shape to the project. Some financial aids were received from the Consulate General of India-Munich, the West Bengal Government, the City of Munich and most members contributed to their best. (Photo: Saurav Chandra)

 

(With inputs from Sutapa Basu, team member, Sampriti München e.V,   which organised Munich’s Durga Puja)