Bengali Durga Puja all set to dazzle

Since 1979, the Bengali community in Singapore has been celebrating Durga Puja, an annual festival of the Hindus. The five-day festival, comprising Shashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Nabami and Bijoya Dashami, marks the triumph of good over evil, as goddess Durga is believed to have killed the demon Mahishasura.

Organised by the Bengali Association of Singapore and held from Oct 18 to 23 at Race Course Road, the festival kicks off a day earlier with a themed carnival on the signature food joints of Kolkata with stalls catering to a mix of epicurean delights. Gracing the occasion will be Indian high commissioner Vijay Thakur Singh.

In addition to the rituals and prayers, there will be cultural programmes such as children's dances, recitations and performances by dancer Raka Maitra and founder of Chitrakala Arts, Chitra Shankar.

There will also be traditional dance performances by members of Maharashtra Mandal and Assam Association.

Participants can also look forward to taking part in a flower arrangement and salad decoration competition.

One of the biggest attractions for this year's Durga Puja is a fashion show choreographed by renowned international designer Sharbari Datta.

The association's president Abhijit Ghosh said: "The event promotes the spirit of cultural integration, communal harmony and social interaction, amid the religious festivities. It may be the biggest festival of the Bengalis, but it cuts across languages, customs, reaching out to the Indian diaspora at large."

Get a copy of tabla! for more stories.