New Delhi: Colourful `pandals` (marquees), cultural shows and diverse gastronomic delights amid tight security -- the stage is set for festivities and gaiety in the capital as the five-day Durga Puja commenced Sunday.
From eco-friendly to celebrating 100 years of New Delhi as the country`s capital, artisans are busy giving final touches to the idols while organisers complete last-minute decorations.
The themes this year are rich and diverse with some `pandals` even opting for a healthy `prasad` or holy offering cooked in olive oil.
According to Samrat Banerjee, one of the organisers at Greater Kailash-II, this year they have decided to go the healthy way. Thus, the `prasad` will be prepared in olive oil only.
"We`ve built this `pandal` at an approximate cost of around Rs.10 lakh. We can easily accommodate eight thousand people. The celebrations will begin today (Sunday) evening," Banerjee told reporters.
`Lutyen`s Delhi` would be the theme for their `pandal` and an exhibition on 100 years of Delhi shall be put up on display, he added.
One of the most popular and largest `pandals` in the national capital organised by the Delhi Durga Puja Committee in Kashmere Gate will be decorated as a grand temple of the goddess.
"We will have the best of authentic Bengali cultural shows and cuisines that nobody can match," claimed Kallol Acharya, joint secretary of K block `pandal` in C.R. Park.
Acharya said that while planning this year`s celebrations, being eco-friendly was their top priority and so no bamboos were used in the construction of the `pandals`.
"Music bands from Mumbai and Bengal will perform here. The highlight of our `pandal` is that we`ve flown down cooks from Kolkata and will definitely offer authentic Bengali dishes," he said.
Delhiites are geared up to make the most of the occasion and have made elaborate plans to savour Bengali delicacies while seeking the blessing of goddess Durga.
"I`ve been going to C.R. Park `pandals` since my childhood and this year will be no different. I love the non-vegetarian food served there, especially fish," said 21-year-old student Kanupriya Verma.