She’s one of the best-known names in India and since 2004, when she first launched her label, fashion designer Anupamaa Dayal has been a force to reckon with, both in the domestic and international market. Along with her flair for imbibing a very modern look with a truly traditional soul, Anupamaa’s designs seem to display the best of both worlds and are also very much rooted in ancient culture, hand printing and extensive needlework.
That, kind of makes her just the right person to tell us all about how to get the complete look in the coming festive season, the Durga Puja that starts from October 4, 2019.
Of course, that she is herself a Bengali, is just incidental!
I am a true blue Bengali; but having said that I am also a composite of all cultures and for me, Durga Puja is not so much about religion or regionalism. It is more about community, fun and a very unifying festival.
My parents are both from Bengal originally and are now in Kolkata. But I was born and brought up in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa where we have three generations of my family. Besides, my father was in the army so I have travelled all over the country, changed ten schools and know six languages!
Being a fashion designer gives me an undue advantage in terms of planning my Durga Puja wear but otherwise too, I think these are the days when you need to dress up to the hilt and not feel that you are sticking out like a sore thumb because you are supposed to really go all out and dress up for the puja celebrations.
Though Durga Puja has now come out of Bengal and reached every corner of the country; a lot of people, especially non-Bengalis are mystified by the concept though a lot of them have learnt about pandal hopping and going to see the festivities.
For the uninitiated and primarily non-Bengalis who are fascinated by this festival, I would say that this is what you do:
Buy new clothes especially festive traditional wear
Dress up like there’s no tomorrow
Buy new home appliances since it is an auspicious time
Visit puja pandals: go pandal hopping too
Go in the morning for the Anjali
Go in the evening for the cultural programmes, people watching and of course the darshan of the Goddess
Stop cooking food at home and enjoy Bengali cuisine, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian
Most importantly, just celebrate being alive!
- In the mornings, for Anjali at the pandal, both men and women can wear traditional clothes.
2. Evenings one can opt for Indo-western attire.
3. Try the Bengali look for women with the traditional white sari with a red border and big bindis and Kolhapuri chappals.
4. Any sari can be worn traditionally to give it a different look, than usual.
Day one is Shashthi where you go and pay your first respects to the Goddess at the pandal; the second day is Saptami where you can go for Pushpanjali in the evening and the third day is Ashtami which is the most important day and you can dress up to the hilt with friends and families. The fourth day is Navami and the fifth is Dashami, the time just before the immersion. Sometime before, you have the Sindoor Khela, by Bengali women, which is like a Holi played with sindoor and is a sight to watch.
Durga Puja info:
The main celebrations occur across five consecutive days: Shasthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Dashami. Durga Puja, also called Durgotsava, is an annual Hindu festival originating in India, which reveres and pays homage to the Hindu goddess, Durga. It is particularly popular in the states of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Tripura, and Odisha, the country of Bangladesh, and the diaspora from this region, and also in Nepal, where it is celebrated as Dashain. It marks the victory of goddess Durga in her battle against the Asuras, an evil race. It epitomises the victory of good over evil, though it is also in part a harvest festival.