Original article sourced from http://pracha2004.blogspot.com/2008/10/durga-pooja-in-powai-goes-green-this.html

This Year’s Pandal Theme – Belur Math

Powai – 28 September 08 :Powai Sarvajanin Durgotsav 2008 is being organized during October 4th to 9th, 2008 in a big way. Within a short span of time, it has emerged as one of the biggest and most popular Durgotsav in Mumbai.

Sarvajanin Durgotsav at Powai has won the hearts of Mumbaikers for its uniqueness and sense of community. One of the major and unique attractions the first of its kind in Mumbai is the novel theme “Natmancha” that is constructed every year by master craftsmen. Following up on replicating the famous Dakshineswar Temple and the Lotus Temple, respectively, in the first two years of the Puja, the craftsmen are busy recreating the much venerated Belur Math this year. Approximately 40 artisans & craftsmen are working overtime for the past 45 days to recreate this novel theme structure.

Belur Math is the head quarter of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission, twin organizations which form the core of a worldwide spiritual movement aims at the harmony of religions, harmony of the East and the West, harmony of the ancient and the modern, spiritual fulfilment, all-round development of human faculties, social equality, and peace for all humanity, without any distinctions of creed, caste, race or nationality.

It was founded by Sri Ramakrishna’s chief apostle, Swami Vivekananda, one of the foremost thinkers and religious leaders of the present age, who is regarded as one of the main moulders of the modern world.

The glorious deity of Goddess Durga this time will be adorned with “sholar shaaj.” The other unique attraction of the Powai Puja, again a first of its kind, is the illumination of the Puja venue and the streets in and around Hiranandani Gardens by internationally acclaimed lighting experts from Chandan Nagar. Each year, Mumbaikars are mesmerized by the brilliant theme lighting, the marvelous Puja pandal, and the gorgeous idol, which together help to showcase the socio-cultural platform that the organizers intend to create for the people from all walks of life.

Topping it all, the Powai Sarvajanin Durgotsav has become synonymous with the delicious community lunch (bhog) that is served with great enthusiasm on the three main days (Saptami, Ashtami and Navami) of the Puja to tens of thousands of visitors.

In line with the true spirit of the festival, the association has planned various cultural programs to fill the mornings and evenings with high quality entertainment. Along with the evening programs, in line with the ethos of the Powai Sarvajanin Durgotsav to involve the community at large in the festivities, various cultural programs are being planned in the morning as well through the “Mukto Mancha” that serves as a platform to showcase the talents of one and all present in the Pandal; extempore, skits, drawing competitions are few of the exciting events planned for the mornings of Saptami, Ashtami and Navami.

The spirit of community will also be amply on display during the “Dhunuchi Naach” competition, an integral component of any Durgotsav celebrations, that brings about every year the enthusiastic participation of a large cross-section of visitors to the Puja premises.

A key initiative of the Durgotsav this year is to take the first steps towards conducting a “Green Puja” to contribute to the larger cause of arresting environmental degradation. Specifically, arrangements are being made to minimize the use of plastics and other non-biodegradable and toxic materials during the Durgotsav.

In keeping with the primary objective of the association that of taking up social initiatives to make a difference where it matters the most the association has initiative called Mission Swayam Siddha (MSS). Its objective is to empower economically and socially disadvantaged women of our society. Its core program is to recruit, train and motivate increasing numbers of women to work for MSS to achieve significant improvements in their overall living standards and social standing in life.

During Durgotsav, the products made by MSS trainees will be exhibited so as to familiarize and reach out to a wider section of people and motivate them to support the noble cause of women empowerment. The association’s commitment to social causes is also evident from the support it provides to several NGOs by inviting them to showcase their activities free of cost during the festivities.

The overwhelming success of the Powai Sarvajanin Durgotsav in such a short period would not have been possible without the active and enthusiastic participation and support of one and all. Like every year, Durgotsav 2008, will be an event to remember for Mumbaikars.