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Black Pearl still rules the hearts of Kolkata

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By Arnab Mitra

Kolkata: 38 years ago, ‘he’ came to the ‘City of Joy’ to play a friendly match with the then Mohun Bagan Athletic Club, and now, the ‘Black Pearl’ of football is again in the city for a two day visit.

The city has undergone a lot of changes, but the football crazy Bengalis did not miss the opportunity to have a glimpse of their hero ‘Pele’, and so the chattering voices of ‘Pele, Pele’ were heard at every place he visited.

2015-10-13 23.11.47Pele arrived in Kolkata on Sunday to attend a program at NSHM Knowledge campus. He also attended the program conducted by the state government to felicitate him ahead of his 75th birthday at Netaji Indoor Stadium.

In an interaction with Mir at NSHM knowledge campus, Pele said, “Both Christiano Ronaldo and Messi are very good players, but Neymer will be the future successor of International Football.” He also talked about his childhood, the street football, his parents, and his struggle to become the legendary figure of International football. The crowd burst into laughter when Pele said that the kiss of the queen will be his best birthday gift- better than a cake, in reply to a googly of Mir.

Sailendra Bhattacharya, the first Indian FIFA referee said that the sounds of ‘Pele, Pele’ will be the best gift for his birthday.

Pele’s two day visit ended on Tuesday. His visit, which coincided with the beginning of Durga Puja, has enhanced the festive spirit among Kolkatans.

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FIFA U-17 World Cup Director Javier Ceppi calls India a ‘Footballing Nation’

India recorded the highest attendance in a U-17 World Cup with 1,347,131 spectators.

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FIFA U-17 World Cup
Football match in progress. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 29, 2017 : FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament director Javier Ceppi on Sunday heaped praise on India for hosting the meet and called it a “footballing nation”.

India recorded the highest attendance in a U-17 World Cup with 1,347,131 spectators. The earlier record was held by China in 1985 where 1,230,976 spectators witnessed football’s marquee tournament.

“Three years of hard work by all in LOC (Local Organising Committee) and we can finally say: job was done! India, you are a footballing nation, 1,347,131 fans say so,” Ceppi tweeted. India hosted 23 nations in the just concluded U-17 World Cup. (IANS)

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Kolkata Showcases in Top 100 Global Travel Destinations

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Kolkata
Whiteways and Laidlaw Building in Kolkata. Wikimedia

Oct 2, 2017: Kolkata is featured in the top 100 travel destinations globally alongside other Indian cities namely, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, and Bengaluru, as indicated by Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2017.

Chennai stands out in India, other than emerging among the top 10 destinations in Asia Pacific when it comes to overnight visitor arrivals.

Travel and tourism in India is on the rise, an authority of a main travel house in the city told PTI.

Durga Puja festival in Kolkata is a major attraction for foreigners with at least two- to three-day stay, he said.

Also Read:  Durga Puja Pandal Decoration Catches Cinema Style, Baahubali Palace Will Be In Cruise This Year In Kolkata 

According to the Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index 2017, there are no indications of the slowdown in travel and tourism in Asia Pacific with the region dominating visitor arrivals.

This is additionally affirmed with the main 10 cities in Asia Pacific destinations tracking the most noteworthy amount of global overnight visitor spending. Bringing USD 91.16 billion in travel use in 2016, Asia Pacific outpaced Europe (USD74.74 billion USD) and North America (USD55.02 billion), MasterCard said in an announcement.

Prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94

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Kashmere Gate Durga Puja is the 108 Years Old Annual Ritual in Delhi

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Kashmere Gate Durga Puja
Durga Puja. IANS

New Delhi, Sep 24, 2017: Kolkata might be the cynosure of Durga Puja celebrations, but not far behind is the national capital, which plays host to more than 350 pandals (marquees). And the Kashmere Gate Durga Puja has been continuing this yearly ritual for the past 108 years, making it Delhi’s oldest Puja.

Its theme has always been traditional. From maintaining the quintessential “sabeki ek-chala-thakur” (traditional one platform) goddess Durga to carrying the idol in a bullock cart for the “visarjan” (immersion), this Puja stands out against the rest.

“The bullock cart visarjan is organised only by us. No other pandals organise such a procession in the national capital,” Samarendra Bose, a committee member of the Delhi Durga Puja Samiti, told IANS.

“And the Bhog! It is also a highlight of our celebration. Every year we feed the afternoon meal to around five to six thousand people. And on Ashtami (the eighth day), the turnout crosses more than 10,000. It’s a big responsibility on our shoulders and we make sure that everything goes smoothly during the Puja,” he said.

Also Read: Devotees Offer Prayers to Goddess Durga and Observe Fast for Nine Divine Nights, Starting Today

There’s quite a history attached to this Puja. Due to the efforts of an unnamed railway employee, the first Puja was organised in 1909 at the Roshanpura Kali Mandir near Nai Sarak. From 1913 to 1946, the Puja used to be organised in a dharamshala (community hall) near Fatehpuri Mosque. Later it was shifted to the Bengali Senior Secondary School at Alipur Road near Civil Lines but the nomenclature continued unchanged.

“In the initial years, the idol used to be brought from Benaras, but from 1926, the idol began to be made in the city itself. And now it’s made within the school premises,” Bose stated.

What hasn’t changed are the customs associated with the Puja. No matter how popular theme pujas are becoming, the Kashmere Gate Durga Puja continues to be a traditional one.

“Theme idols can never reflect the charm or the beauty of a traditional one. We don’t bring the idol from CR Park or Kolkata; rather it is made inside the school premises, like the way it happens in home Pujas,” Bose pointed out.

For the five days the Puja lasts, the atmoshphere within the pandal turns into a mini Bengal. From people clad in their traditional attire to cultural programmes and, of course, Bengali’s favourite cuisine — biryani — turns it into a major draw.

“We organise cultural programmes but only the local residents participate. We don’t invite artists (like most pandals do). Also, we make sure that at least during the five days, all the functions are conducted in Bengali,” Bose said.

The charm of this Durga Puja couldn’t even be ignored by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who visited the pandal in 1969. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose is also believed to have attended the celebrations in 1935.

“The priest and the dhakis (drummers) have been brought from Kolkata. We make sure that there is no dearth of bhog. After all it’s a major attraction of Kashmere Gate Durga Puja,” Bose said.

So, make sure that Kashmere Gate Puja is on the must-visit pandals list this year! (IANS)