October 1, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio / IBNS) Durga Puja is not all about the ones organized by the clubs with ostentation. Instead it is the traditional ones organized by various house holds in the city with an aristocratic origin that make it all the more special.
Tollywood Actress Koel Mallick with hero Jeet & his wife at Mallick Bari Durga Puja on Ashtami
Ranjit Mallick, Jeet, Mrs. Jeet, Koel Mullick
All-Bengali Girl and Tollywood Kolkata Bengali Movie Actress Koyel Mallick
Truly, a person can see the emotions and bondage that the festival creates in the five days when puja becomes a meeting occasion for members of the family living far and wide.
Kolkata and the suburbs have several such distinguished houses who are known for their age old Durga Puja traditions.
The first names that comes to the mind while speaking about such houses is surely Bhowanipur Mullick Bari Durga Puja.
The origin of this puja dates back to the time of Nawab Husen Shah of Bengal, almost around 15th century AD.
Suratha at Srikhanda had pioneered this festival.
Around 19th century the festival was shifted to the Masjid Bari Street in the city by Ishwar Chandra Mullick.
Later the Mullicks shifted to the Gupti Para and then they finally settled in Bhowanipore.
It is in this Bhowanipore residence that the famiy has been celebrating their festival since 1925.
The idol is worshipped in "Ekchala" form. There are two different locations in Mullick bari where the puja rituals are performed. They are "Annapurna dalan" and the other is "Durga Dalan".
As the Mullicks are Vaishnabs, they do not follow any rituals like vegetable or animal sacrifice that several traditional houses in this city or elsewhere performs during the puja.
The 'patua' artists who shape up the Durga idol of Bhowanipore create the Duera idol for the family for a long time now.
And it is a part of the families' ritual that they do not take any non-veg food during the puja.
From Shasti till the immersion of the goddess they eat vegetable dishes and only after the immersion they take non-veg food.
Moreover, they do not offer rice offerings to the goddess, instead preparations of wheat are offered. After immersion, according to custom of the house, the eldest family member serve "siddhi" to the rest of the family and bless them with "Astadurba" or eight varieties of grasses.
But like all other families the Mullickâ's too have their special dishes to offer to the goddess during the festival as recipes and food are an integral part of any occasion and specially for a mega event like this one.
The Mullicks as have been mentioned earlier, offers vegetable dishes to the goddess, the bhog comprises of Luchi (deep fried puffed bread), chanar dalna ( cottage cheese curry), alukophir dalna (cauliflower potato curry), and different varieties of chechki (spiced fried vegetables), bonde and nadu (sweet balls).
Photos by Avishek Mitra/IBNS