Houston Durga Bari Puja 2018, Bringing Bengal to Space City

Photos: Nirmalya Roy, Saurabh Sen Gupta and Sujay Kahali

Photos: Nirmalya Roy, Saurabh Sen Gupta and Sujay Kahali

By Partha Sarathi Chatterjee

HOUSTON: Houston’s Durga Bari’s Durga Puja was again celebrated with tradition grandeur over a matter of eight days – Oct 14-21. It more than lived upto the first Biswa Bangla Sarad Samman award winner in the international category.

Puja was celebrated at our vast temple complex right on a picturesque lake. Durga Bari’s temple has Ashtadhatu deities brought from India. Puja was conducted by our dedicated volunteer priests over four days led by our Head priest Buddhadeb Bhattachariya. We followed all rituals – from Bodhon to Bishorjan, from Hom to Chandi path to 108 lotuses during Sandhi Puja, Dedicated volunteers prepare the elaborate Naibidya, Bhog and Dadhikarma. We had about 4000 attendees from all over Houston, Texas and other states for our Puja.

The entire complex became a fun-filled festival – the milieu of people milling around with mikes blaring. From the entrance gate to Las Vegas style lighting, we converted the temple complex to a Vegas-Kolkata lighting wonderland. The Pujas brought together young and old – from second-generation kids and adults to the senior citizens, with the theme being “Renew, Revive, Rejoice”.

Houston’s stage saw a powerful lineup of famous artists rocking the Houston crowd. From Iman Chakrabarty to the new Sa re ga ma pa sensations creating waves back home – Kushal Paul to Mekhla Dasgupta to Suday Sarkar, this year’s programs were exciting, high-class and tremendously entertaining. Kushal was easily the top show and had the packed auditorium crowd in raptures. Talented local artists including gifted second-generation kids and adults, performed admirably on stage too.

Volunteers cooked delicious food and served it under a canopy. From lunches to bhog to snacks to dinner, one had a gourmet food experience here.  Tutored by the elders, dhaaks (drums) were now played by second-generation kids, for every arati and bishorjan. For bishorjan, we took the Kala Bau and the pitchers three times around the temple in a procession and then, immersed them in the lake.
Houston Durga Bari organization, led by Anindya Chakrabarty and Diptabhas Sarkar, and the Puja committee, led by Swapan Das and Piyali Chatterjee, and 25 teams with 200+ dedicated volunteers organized a great Puja, which the community loved dearly. The coordination and team work and many new faces stepping up to take active roles in the organization show that Durga Bari is in really good hands.

Durga Bari will host Kali Puja with dramas, fireworks and Bangla band Chandrabindoo Nov 2-3.

In short, we created an authentic Durga Puja ambiance right here in Space City in the heart of Texas.

Partha Sarathi Chatterjee is the Ex- President and Founding Trustee of Houston Durga Bari Society.