Navratri starts today and the festival is special not just because of the fun and frolic associated with it but also because it celebrates the different faces of womanhood.
While garba nights are something we all look forward to during Navratri, my fondest Durga Puja memories are associated with pandal hopping. I remember visiting different puja pandals with my parents and getting excited seeing all the decoration and lighting.
We thought, why not relive the fond childhood Navratri memories? So, we put together a list of a few pandals you can visit this year.
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Sindh Mata Mandir-Khamla is an NGO that has been organizing Durga Puja pandals in Nagpur for the last 25 years. This year they are replicating the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati. One of the four main Shakti Peethas, the Kamakhya temple symbolizes the place where Sati’s yoni fell after Shiva danced ferociously with her burning corps. Situated at the peak of Nilanchal Parvat, this is one of the oldest Shakti Peeths. This temple is the center for tantra worship.
2. Laxmi Nagar
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In their 11th consecutive year of Durga Puja, the Rani Lakshmi Bai Durga Utsav Mandal is all set to amaze the visitors with a replica of the Nagpur Metro. The devotees would enter the shrine through a 3D gate. Apart from the fancy theme, the Durga idol is special too, this year, they had the idol made by artists from Kolkata.
3. Chandan Nagar
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Jai Yuvak Durga Utsav Mandal, Chandan Nagar is entering its 29th year of Durga Puja celebration and this year they are celebrating Navratri with the destroyer of evil forces goddess Kali. They are bringing back charm of peaceful old temples through their theme this year.
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There’s hardly a person in Nagpur who doesn’t know of the Bengali Association puja pandal at Dhantoli. This truly traditional pooja and the maha aarti will give you a unique flavour of Bengali culture in Nagpur. This year, the Bengali Association puja will enter its 107th year of celebration, making it one of the oldest in the city. The murti, which is made in the school premises itself, is made from mud and water from the Ganges. Shashti, Saptami, Ashti, Navmi are the main 4 days of celebration. And well, who can forget the delicious bhog that follows the maha aarti!
5. Abhyankar Nagar
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If there is one Durga Puja pandal I loved going to as a kid is the Abhyankar Nagar pandal. The kid in me is still in awe of the magnificent structures that they re-create every year. This year the Abyankar Nagar Durgotsav Mandal has made a replica of the beautiful Parali Baijnath temple in Beed. Artists from Kolkata were invited to replicate the structure.
6. Ujjwal Nagar
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The Nav Durga Utsav Mandal in Ujjwal Nagar, that has been organizing Navratri for the past 18 years is another popular Durga Puja pandal in the city. Apart from the attractive decoration theme and structure, this pandal is also famous for the grand fair they organize. With rides for children, balloon and toy sellers, and food stalls selling various delicacies, this pandal is a must visit if you have tiny tots.
Happy pandal hopping, folks!
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