Couldn’t make it home for Pujo this time? Missing your mum’s cooking, pandal hopping, hanging out with friends and eating greasy, fried Bong food till you are sick to the gills? Our city may not be able to rival the fervour of the Durga Puja scene of Kolkata, but we do have our fair share of well-known pujas that have grown over the years and have made many-a-Bengali or for that matter Non-Bengalis {That’s what Bengalis like to call anyone who isn’t a Bengali!}, feel at home.

LBB’s Loving

Bengalee Association Ulsoor

Readers’ vote

Jayamahal Sarbajanin Durga Charitable Samiti

Sarjapur Outer Ring Road Bengali Association {SORRBA}

Photo source: SORRBA - Sarjapur Outer Ring Road Bengali Association - 2015

Photo source: SORRBA – Sarjapur Outer Ring Road Bengali Association – 2015

Apart from the usual rituals, prayers and festivities at this puja, look out for theatre performances based on a Tagore play, a live gig by Bhoomi and rock band Krosswindz, plus the kids of SORRBA who’ll be putting up a play. This time around, it’s a completely green event, which means absolutely no plastic. Apart from this, stalls at the pandal will churn out the best of Kolkata street food, cooked by home chefs. Hurry! Till stocks last everyday.

Where: Sun City Apartments, Sarjapur, Outer Ring Road

Contact: contact@sorrba.org

Find them on Facebook here.

Check out their website here.

Socio Cultural Association, Indiranagar

Photo source: Socio Cultural Association - 2015

Photo source: Socio Cultural Association – 2015

While the address has changed again, the spirit has certainly not. What remains unchanged is the vast number of food stalls, stellar performances and the puja bhog {food served in prayers to the goddess and then dispersed to hungry souls like us} still made it worth the trek to near the BEML gate. This year, apart from performances by Goutam Das Baul and Anwesha, get set for Pele or Maradona, a football competition for men, while the ladies can gear up for a game of Musical Chairs and a marginally sexist game of stitching. Plus, games and quizzes for the young ‘uns. Kolkata style Kathi rolls, Mutton Biryani, Luchi Mangsho and Kobiraji cutlet are usually on the menu. The puja blog is also available every day of the festival at 1pm, but you might have to queue for this one. Also, Lakshmi Pooja will be held at the Jogupalya Choultry {BBMP Hall} on Saturday, October 15 while the Kali Pooja will take place on October 20, at the same venue.

Where: Rajkumar Bailu Ranga Mandira, near Mallespalya Bus Stand, GM Palya Main Road (approximately 1.5 km from BEML gate)

Contact: +91 9845003908

Find them on Facebook here.

Check out their website here.

Bengalee Association Ulsoor

Photo source: Bengali Association - Ulsoor - 2015

Photo source: Bengali Association – Ulsoor – 2015

The Ulsoor-based Bengalee Association perhaps organises one of the oldest pujos in the city. They claim that they are among the top five in the country and get footfalls of nearly 25,000 over the busy four days of the festival. This year, the decoration theme this is year is based on Padma Bhushan-awardee Jamini Roy’s paintings. While the celebrations are still traditional, the food stalls will be more varied with Bengali, Indian, Chinese and Mughlai cuisine with plenty of Kolkata-style street snacking on offer. Also do look forward to a community bhog which will start everyday at 12.30pm in the afternoon.

Where: RBANMS Grounds, Ulsoor

Contact: +91 9480640014

Check out their website here.

Ramakrishna Math Ulsoor

Quiet and more spiritual, if you want to skip the drama of the other pujo pandals, this one is for you. Focusing of the cultural and spiritual aspect of the festival, the celebrations start on Friday, October 7. With bhajans, homas and spiritual songs part of the schedule, come here if you want a peaceful experience.

Where: Ramakrishna Math Ulsoor, Swami Vivekananda Road, Ulsoor

Contact: 080 25367878, 080 25578900

Check out their website here.

Sarathi Koramangala Durga Puja

Photo source: Sarathi - Koramangala Durga Puja - 2015

Photo source: Sarathi – Koramangala Durga Puja – 2015

The cultural programme at this Koramangala puja begins on Thursday, October 6. And apart from the traditional Durga Puja dance, Dhunuchi Nach, and plenty of music, there’s also feasting involved, naturally. Apart from Bengali food {plenty of Fish Fry and Mishti, they’re pushing boundaries with Chinese and Mughlai cuisine too. Another highlight here will be bhog starting at 11.30am from Saptami which is Saturday, October 8.

Where: Mangala Kalyana Mantapa, 8th Block, 80 Ft. Road, Opp. Ganesha Temple, Koramangala

Contact: 9886067137

Find them on Facebook here.

Check out their website here.

Amader Pujo by Kanakapura Road Bengali Association

Photo source: KARBA - 2015

Photo source: KARBA – 2015

Festivities kick off here with a cultural performance by Saptapadi – their trademark mix of dance, theatre, music and magic shows on October 7. Then, each night will have a different cultural extravaganza. From Shilpanjali which is a dance, drama and music evening on Saturday to RJ Snigdha helming a rock musical night on Sunday, there’s lots to look forward too. Oh! There’s also a dandiya night and a performance by Project Mishram, a band from RV College. Don’t forget to browse and buy stuff at the flea market, and load up of festive food at the stalls.

Where: 46, 7th phase, Puttenahalli Rd, Puttenahalli, Phase 7, JP Nagar

Contact: 9880544664

Find them on Facebook here.

Check out their website here.

Utsav Durga Puja, JP Nagar

Photo source: Utsav Bangalore - 2015

Photo source: Utsav Bangalore – 2015

Celebrating five years in 2016, this pandal will start off the festivities on Friday, October 7. Apart from special programmes for kids, musical performances {Kharaj Mukherjee and Manoj Murali Nair, specifically} and even a storytelling session, you can look forward to typical treats ranging from luchi to khichidi. The highlight however, will be the enactment of Romyaon, a hilarious version of the Ramayan, that will leave you in splits. Do look out for the release of Bodhan — The Magazine, a collection of poems, stories and art by the members of this community.

Where: Sree Kala Mantap, JP Nagar, 3rd Phase

Contact: +91 9880903847

Find them on Facebook here.

Check out their website here.

Jayamahal Sarbajanin Durga Charitable Samiti

In their 62st year, this iconic pandal has a massive replica of the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple, on the outskirts of Kolkata. The Anandamela will kick off the celebrations on Thursday, October 6, and every evening there will be dance and musical performances. This year, on Maha Astami {Sunday} there’s  be a Bollywood Music-n-Dance night,  followed by Dandiya, so make sure you’re there for the festivities with your dancing shoes. Every day, bhog will begin at 1.30pm and following the arati at 7.15pm. Kids don’t need to feel left out as there’s special competitions for them as well. Luchi and mutton curry, Khichudi, Kathi Rolls, Pani Puri, Chowmein {yes, of course} and Mishti rule the food stalls here.

Where: Ladies Club Premises, Jayamahal Extension, adjacent to Jayamahal Park.

Contact: 080 23330876

Find them on Facebook here.

Check out their website here.

 Featured Photo: Bengali Association – Ulsoor (2015)