One of the most important festivals in the Hindu calendar is Durga Puja celebrated across the Indian subcontinent in worship of Goddess Durga and the victory of good over evil. While the festival takes place over five days, and is most popular in the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Assam and Bihar, in Bogotá, cyclist-turned-chef Chef Arun Pal, and the Indian community, will tribute Colombia’s frontline health workers by cooking some 250 traditional Indian meals.
The meals will be donated by the Kolkata-born Pal, as well as other sponsors of the festival: Taj Mahal Restaurant and India Gourmet. “I want to give in the spirit of Durga, at such an important time for our humanity,” states Pal. “We have to thank our doctors and nurses after almost two years of a global pandemic,” he adds.
While cooks prepare delicacies of the Indian table, Durga Puja is also an in-person event, running Saturday and Sunday (Oct 23 and 24), from 8:30 am to 6 pm. The days begin with a puja ceremony, followed by Pushpanjali and Aarti (light ceremony), as well as Evening Aarti.
There is also a special children’s Havan program from 10 am onward. The Pooja Hall can only, however, accommodate 30 guests given COVID-19 safety regulations.
If you decide to turn-up at the venue on Calle 112 No.1-10 Este in the locality of Usaquén, donations are most welcome. This is the seventh year Arun Pal hosts the Durga Puja and event that brings together the fast-growing Indian community of Bogotá. The ceremonies will be broadcast on Facebook Live and Youtube.