Durga Pujo for Bengalis’ calendars revolves around this one festival. Pujo means meeting up with near and dear ones, dressing up every day, gorging on tasty food, and most importantly pandal hopping. But what if you live in the UK and did not find an opportunity to travel back home to enjoy all of this? That’s when Indian Bengalis in UK (IBUK) initiated the idea of hiring a bus for London Pujo Porikroma on Saturday 16th October 2021. They started gathering interests and selling tickets for the Porikroma, and ended up with a huge waiting list after the bus was fully sold out, and decided to hire a second bus. A mammoth task as it was to arrange and execute the entire tour, the admins of IBUK did not shy away from the responsibility of delivering happiness to all the 106 attendees in the two buses.
They started the day at the Hounslow Prabashi Pujo venue where all attendees assembled, offered Pushpanjali to the Goddess and then boarded their respective buses. The fun ride through the streets of London took them to Adi Shakti where everyone was served lunch. The next part of the tour took our enthusiastic group of attendees to Adda Slough, Harrow Panchomukhee, Ealing London Sharod Utsav before concluding the porikroma at the Swiss Cottage Library London Durgotsav where they had dinner, after which they went back to Hounslow to disperse.
One of the most important questions that come to our minds while conducting a group activity during a pandemic is the health and safety of attendees and everyone else involved in the tour. The answer is yes. The group had been very careful to strictly adhere to the Covid protocols before and during the tour. Our admins relentlessly followed up with each participant to share their LFT test reports the night before, ensuring masks were on whenever attendees were inside the bus, and of course the use of sanitisers at entry and exit points throughout the day.
Even though they conducted the porikroma in London, they had participants coming in from far and wide like Birmingham, Leeds, Coventry, Leamington Spa, Crowley, Surrey, Kent, Southampton. The energy and enthusiasm showed by our participants were unparalleled, and by the end of the day, they became like one big family. That’s the power of community, which IBUK always believes in and upholds the values through such activities.
IBUK’s Pujo celebrations are not yet over. After a very successful Pujo Porikroma, they celebrated a fun Bijoya Shammeloni on Saturday 23rd October where 160 participants gathered for an evening of fun and frolic, dinner and DJ!