by Kuhu Bhattacharya
The 2023 Powai Sarvajanin Durgotsav’s Cricket World Cup Theme-based Magnum Opus Durga Puja, known as “Divine Innings,” was flagged off by Khuti Puja, organized by the Powai Bengali Welfare Association (PBWA).
On 1st October 2023, Khuti Puja marked the auspicious beginning of the 18th Edition of Mumbai’s Magnum Opus Cultural Fest – The Powai Sarvajanin Durgotsav. The event was honored by the presence of local MLA, Hon. Dilip Lande, and hundreds of devotees who invoked The Almighty to bless and bring life to the wooden frame, called “kathamo,” on which the magnificent idol of Goddess Durga is sculptured.
This significant day also marked the commencement of the construction of a mesmerizing “Natmancha” (The Grand Temple), which will be a replica of Lord’s Stadium, where India won its first Cricket World Cup. This year, the Pujo theme revolves around the cultural fusion of cricket and Durgotsav festivities, aiming to unite communities beyond cultural boundaries. The “Divine Innings” is the first-of-its-kind thematic Durgotsav in Mumbai. The venue is designed like a cricket stadium, featuring various zones such as The Pavilion, The Boundary Zone, DRS Screen (where matches will be shown), The Lounge, The Crease, The Netz, The Stands, and Umpires Corner, offering an immersive experience akin to a cricket stadium.
PBWA’s Chairman Sourav Mitra expressed his excitement, proclaiming that “This theme is a tribute to the lively tapestry of India’s beloved sport, cricket, seamlessly intertwining it with devotion and festivity. It replicates the Lords Pavilion as Durgotsav’s Grand Temple, commemorating the Indian Cricket Team’s victorious moment at this hallowed venue four decades ago.”
PBWA has always been a strong advocate for eco-friendly celebrations, continuously evolving their practices towards sustainability. They prioritize eco-conscious measures such as using idols made of natural clay with natural adhesives, opting for natural colors instead of synthetic ones, substituting “shola” from natural sources for polystyrene foams, utilizing rangtas made of aluminum foil, minimizing the use of plastic and synthetic materials. Additionally, water-based paint is applied on all paintable areas instead of enamel paint and paper glasses are used instead of plastic. Furthermore, they utilize plates made of betel nut leaves to distribute Prasad Bhog, lunch, and dinner to 30,000 devotees.
Ensuring minimal environmental impact, PBWA employs biodegradable decorations and reduces plastic usage. They also nurture the Durgotsav ground by planting Ashoka Trees and installing percolation pits for groundwater recharge.
A standout feature of this year’s Durgotsav is the adoption of SOLAR POWER to illuminate the entire Natmancha (Lords Stadium). This remarkable move represents a definitive step towards renewable energy.
While conducting the Durgotsav celebration on such a grand scale, PBWA emphasizes the importance of aligning with nature’s harmony and preserving the planet for future generations. They are committed to fostering a cleaner, greener earth, which is now embodied in PBWA Durgotsav. Furthermore, more sustainability initiatives are planned for this year as part of their ongoing efforts. It is a continuous process, and during this Durgotsav, we should strive towards sustainable living.
PBWA, an 18+ year-old socio-cultural organization, is actively involved in various social causes throughout the year. With its NGO – Mission Swayam Siddha, PBWA works towards women empowerment and supports village upliftment in Palghar District, working closely with three malnourished villages. The organization also focuses on providing education to the less privileged and collaborates with the Government of India on programs like TB eradication. Powai Sarvajanin Durgotsav, celebrated by PBWA, serves as an inclusive platform, bringing together different NGOs, the LGBT Community, children with cancer, destitute girl children, and various other underprivileged sections of society.