Monday April 23, 2018

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

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Kashmere Gate Durga Puja
Durga Puja. IANS
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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)

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Swiggy to use digital payments for delivery fleet

Founded in 2014, Swiggy aims to "change the way India eats" and is currently operational in cities like New Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai among a few others

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Another step towards digitizing India
Encouraging Digital Transactions by exempting service tax on Cards (Wikimedia commons)
  • Swiggy is an online food ordering platform
  • It will now allow digital payments for delivery feet
  • this method will prevent any leakage in cash payment process

Online food ordering and delivery platform Swiggy on Monday said it would use privately-run ICICI Bank to allow its delivery fleet to make digital payments.

“Through the use of Unified Payment Interface (UPI)-based solution for instant fund transfers and automated cash deposit machines at ICICI Bank branches and ATMs across the country, the delivery fleet will have a hassle-free way of transferring funds,” the company said in a statement. Swiggy operates with a fleet of over 20,000 delivery persons delivering food from over 25,000 restaurants across 12 cities.

These digital payments will prevent leakage in cash payments. Wikimedia Commons

With cash-on-delivery being a widely used method of payment on the platform, the digital payment methods allow the delivery men to quickly transfer the funds to Swiggy, saving their time, according to the statement.

“With the delivery fleet being the backbone of Swiggy, the adoption of the digital payment solutions will support the ease of operations and save their time and thousands of kilometres of travel,” said the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Rahul Bothra in the statement. The digital payment methods will also help in preventing any cash leakages, the company said.

Also Read: Rise Of Digital Media Unstoppable: Experts 

Founded in 2014, Swiggy aims to “change the way India eats” and is currently operational in cities like New Delhi, Gurugram, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai among a few others. IANS