With pitru paksha drawing to a close, Punekars are now prepping to welcome the Goddess in all her splendour from September 26 to October 5, 2022.
As Navratri will be celebrated after a break of two years owing to Covid-19, the Tambdi Jogeshwari, Chaturshringi, Mahalaxmi and Bhavani Mata temples in the city are all set to welcome the ‘Devi’ with twice as much fervour. The Shree Lakshmi Mata temple of Dakshinatya Ghatni at Mitra mandal chowk has been decorated and attractive arches have been erected everywhere on the occasion of Navratri. While the Medhekar brothers, trustees of the Bhavani Mata mandir, have started cleaning the temple in keeping with the age-old tradition. The barricading too has begun outside the temple as they are expecting double the number of devotees this year. The Chaturshringi temple has got a fresh coat of paint and looks festive with bright lights atop the hill. “The temple will remain open for devotees 24×7 during the Navratri festival, with daily bhajans, kirtans, discourses, and collective recitation of the Srisukta and Vedas inside its premises. The famous Simolanghana’s palkhi will be very big this year with dhol, lezim, nagara, chowghada etc,” said Nandkumar Angal, managing trustee of the temple.
Whereas the Pune Navratri festival – which could not be held for the past three years owing to the swine flu outbreak in 2009 and the coronavirus pandemic over the past two years – will see its 28th year celebrations this year. The festival is held for ten consecutive days during Navratri and is seen as a major cultural event by Punekars. Aba Bagul, organiser, said, “This year, the annual Pune Navratri festival, a unique combination of art, singing, dance and music, will be held with a lot of interesting programmes that will mesmerise the audience. We are expecting a lot of people this year for it will be a treat for the audience after two years of Covid.”
Meanwhile, several Punekars are attending garba/dandiya workshops in the city. Some workshops held over the weekend such as that of Rocky Poonawalla dance school saw tremendous response to its Bollywood-style garba. Traditional garba, too, is getting a good response. Taruna Rathod, who is hailed as a garba specialist and runs Art for Fun in Aundh, said, “There is a lot of demand for the energetic steps of garba. More and more men and women are joining to learn as many steps as possible and are eager to wear the traditional attire to showcase their skills.”