• Saturday, December 09, 2023


UK’s Heritage Bengal Global to stage grand Thames Durga Parade this year

Aimed at promoting the famous Durga Puja of Kolkata in India’s West Bengal state as a global tourism destination, the Thames Durga Parade has been quite a game-changer in the UK’s Durga Puja celebrations.

An idol of Hindu goddess Durga in Kolkata, the capital of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. (Photo by DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

FOLLOWING the huge success of the inaugural Thames Durga Parade last year, UK-based not-for-profit Organisation Heritage Bengal Global (HBG) is all set to bring a bigger and better edition this year.

Aimed at promoting the famous Durga Puja of Kolkata in India’s West Bengal state as a global tourism destination, the Thames Durga Parade has been quite a game-changer in the UK’s Durga Puja celebrations.

Starting with just one boat and the idol of Camden last year, this year will see two large boats sailing on the Thames on October 28 afternoon — one of HBG with the idol of Medway Oikataan Cultural Association doing its puja for the first time and the other of Camden.

The HBG boat is going to be a melting pot of India literally with various state associations from India’s Assam to Haryana sending in their representatives. Besides, the UK Hindu Cultural Association will also have its representation with 5 drums or ‘dhaak’ as we know them popularly.

A unique feature of the parade this year will be bhatiali song on Thames by the acclaimed folk singer from Bengal Sourav Moni, who is flying down for the event.

A major feature of the parade which is focused on Bengal is the support extended by business houses from the eastern state.

Partha Nandi of Lalbaba Rice has been associated with the parade throughout and it is called Lalbaba Rice Thames Durga Parade.

Techno India, another successful business house from Kolkata represented by Satyam Roychoudhury, has also come forward with support for the second consecutive year, as has Surajit Nandi of Floral.

HBG in house entrepreneurs Tushar Das Ghose, running an IT company ETOS in UK; Shubhankar Mukherjee, whose brand Earthwise deals with environment friendly products and Aparup Bose, a UK-based entrepreneur have also come forward to ensure that the event is held successfully.

Pointers Business Forum, a platform of entrepreneurs of the alumni of Kolkata’s South Point School has always been a trusted partner of HBG and it is no exception this time either.

HBG members Priyanka Burman, Yashmita Choudhury, Arati Das were planning closely with vice president Mahua Bej on the decoration of the boat.

“Last year was a good learning and this year, we are taking them into consideration and making the boat look pretty and ethnic with the artefacts we are creating,” Bej said.

Here and Now 365, a professional agency, is working with the team for a clean delivery on the day. Kolkata’s Bhawanipur 75 Palli Puja is also a delivery partner of the event, especially managing the activities and relationships at the Kolkata end.

Working on the Kolkata-London bonding, this year’s parade will see the launch of the centenary celebrations of the Calcutta Rowing Club (CRC) event to be held in Kolkata in November, supported by London Rowing Club (LRC) on the HBG boat.

Members of both the CRC and LRC will symbolically flag off the Kolkata event on the Thames, making it a unique Indo-British experience.

The event will also see the presence of many dignitaries, including a few British parliamentarians, mayors and representatives from the Indian high commission in the UK. They are expected to be on the HBG boat along with many British Army and Royal Air Force officers.

HBG president Anirban Mukhopadhyay, whose dream was to start a parade like this last year, said, “Last year, we had one boat. This year, the number has doubled — I think we are not far away from a time when we will have five to six such boats sailing through the Thames on a particular day and time and then, we will achieve our goal of drawing the attention of the general people on the riverbanks and bridges, thereby creating a massive Durga Puja Tourism opportunity for Bengal.

“Interestingly enough, the Thames Durga Parade has already created interest in Bengal for inward tourism into London. Another big global initiative we have taken is to bring Puja organisers across the into one platform and to that effect we have now connected up with Pujas in 41 counties from Japan to Brazil, and from Norway New Zealand, exchanging thoughts, ideas and event brochures throughout the day in a Whatsapp group.”

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