The India Canada Consortium (ICC) in Guelph, about 70 kilometers west of Toronto, is set to host its first Durga Puja this year. Since Guelph’s other name is Royal City, this puja is named ‘Royal City Durga Puja’. The main objective of Royal City Durga Puja is ‘gender equality and team work’, along with Indian multiculturalism, bringing everyone together in one place.
The souvenirs to be released on the occasion of this puja will have stories written in Santali along with writings in several provincial languages of India. Famous poet and writer Ms. Swapna Banerjee has written funny stories from Kolkata.
Also one of the special initiatives of this puja is Durga Puja by the first female priest in North America especially Canada. From Kalparambha to Navpatrika Puja, Devi Mahasnan, Sandhi Puja to Hom – nothing will be left out in full compliance with the scriptures. Apart from Navdurga Kumari Puja, Dasami vermilion game is also there. Besides Dhunuchi dance there will be Garba or provincial dance. Another special attraction is the Aarti of Maa Durga in the presence of the Mayor of this city and his wife of 108 women (from different provinces of India).
The idol of Maa Durga has already reached Guelph, Ontario from Birati in West Bengal.
Hemanthi Bhattacharya, who holds a master’s degree in Sanskrit and Vedic literature from Jadavpur University and currently works in Canada through his own organization ‘Self Wellness Awareness’, does spiritual and mindfulness counseling in addition to practicing Sanskrit.
Having grown up in a puja atmosphere at home since childhood, Yagyagna was enthusiastic about teaching puja. At home too he grew up witnessing the devotion and discipline of worshiping his paternal grandfather, grandpa and father and pure pronunciation. Since 1995, at Sri Sri Anandamoyi Ma’s ashram in Kankhal, Haridwar, Haimanti’s father, Ashish Bhattacharya has been a priest of Durga Puja for 27 years. Till he came abroad, Heimanti was also present with his father every time.
He got his father by his side as a teacher in priestly education. In the home environment, children never felt any discrimination about performing puja. That’s why he always wanted to highlight that idea. He will be by Haimanti’s side during Durga Puja in Guelph, his childhood friend Parmita will help him. Parmita currently resides in London, Ontario.
So far, thirty-three families together, with the help of local and GTA (Greater Toronto Area) sponsors, are moving forward with preparations for the puja. Bob Sarkar, Devasmita, Gaurav, Devarghya, Harjit, Shivaji, Devbrata and Malini – one of the main officials of this puja including ICC founder Gypsy Ghosh – every member of the core committee is extremely busy with the puja. This puja is going to be completed on October 28th and 29th with the cooperation of all in just a few months’ initiative.