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FLORENCE     Florence –  the capital of the Tuscany region and the cradle of Renaissance   We opted for Flix Bus while traveling from Venice to Florence. The road journey takes about three and a half-hour. In Florence, it terminates at the rear end of Santa Maria Novella (SMN) train station. One of Italy’s busiest stations, it got its name from Santa Maria Novella Church just across the plaza from the main entrance. We debarked at the station and refreshed ourselves at McDonald's before hiring a cab for our hotel. Florence, popularly known as ‘Firenze’ by the Italians, is located in central Italy. This dreamy city with a romantic name is the regional capital of the lovely Tuscany region.   Columbus Hotel, where we stayed, is located in Lugarno District. We always prefer to book our hotels through Booking.com as we always land up getting good hotels at good locations. Despite being a little away from the heart of the city and Santa Maria Novella station

Durga Puja in Stuttgart, Germany

Durga Puja in Germany – from Calcutta to Stuttgart

Calcutta, India
Only after marriage did I take interest and started delving more deeply into the insights of the timeless social phenomenon of 'The Generation Gap'. My wife belongs to a family who hails from Choto Kalia in Bangladesh. The Sen family from this small village in Bangladesh is referred to as ‘Choto Kaliya Sen Parivar’, a distinction only because of families' unbounded stint in maintaining close-knit relations generation after generation. In fact, when I first visited my wife's ancestral house Harrison Road (near College Square) in Calcutta, I was surprised to see photographs/ painted portraits of forefathers of my father-in-law decorating the walls of the living room. Another reason which brought prominence to this family is Durga Puja, which, I understand is almost 200 years old. The Kalia Sen Bari Puja shifted its venue mid-1960s and ever since continues to be held at Mitra Institution (formerly Ripon College, where Swami Vivekananda was felicitated on his return from Chicago after delivering the historic address on World Religion), Mirzapur Street for over 50 years. It is a great show, a grand show- a reunion and get-together on a festive occasion. I enjoy the spirit and atmosphere so much that I prefer to stick around in the Puja premises all four days of Puja whenever I am in Calcutta.

Stuttgart, Germany
Saikat Sen, my wife's cousin, and an IT technologist joined his new job in Germany in 2018. Prior to that he was based in Calcutta, and actively participated in Kalia Sen Bari Puja. His attempt to retain the spirit and fervor of Durga Puja while in Germany resulted in a Pooja initiation near Stuttgart. Durga Idol made of fiberglass was flown in from Calcutta in 2020, but due to the Covid19 outbreak, the Puja could not be held. This year, ie. 2021, they performed it with all the warmth and jubilations associated with Durga Puja. By mere coincidence, we had come to our son's place in Heidelberg during the Puja season. Knowing that we had plans to come to Germany, Saikat had already invited us much in advance to the Pujo at Stuttgart. Eager and excited to see the first Puja outside India, that too Germany, we started off early. From our son's house in Kirchstrasse, Heidelberg central rail station is hardly a few minutes' walk. The train to Stuttgart took around 40 minutes. From Stuttgart, which is a terminal station, we took a local train to Boeblingen. From Boeblingen station we took a bus to the venue of Stuttgart Maitri Durga Puja. The final lap was a rejuvenating walk down a lane lined with maple trees radiating a blossoming beauty of red, green, yellow just before the Fall. The venue was nestled cozily and comfortably in the bounty of nature. The Pujo was held in a rented hall with covered tents placed on the lawn for lunch, dinner, and cultural functions in the evening. Saikat and his friends in and around Stuttgart put up a wonderful show on their very first venture. Their success lay in creating an aura similar to the ones one finds back in Calcutta. Right from Bhog offerings, Dhak beats, Anjali, Prashad distribution followed by lunch. Even dinner was arranged for those who stayed back till late evening. Since we had to return back to Heidelberg, we had to very reluctantly forgo the entertainment functions as well as dinner. We had been there on Nabami, and the lunch served was delectable, especially the 'Malpoa'. The most satiable and pleasant sight was a sizeable gathering of families from and around Stuttgart. The young purohit (priest) was one of the major attractions. An Engineer with the EV Department of Mercedes Benz, he was meticulous in performing the rites such as Anjali and Arati. Making of ‘Maitri eV’ & Stuttgart Durga Puja 2021 The Club ‘Maitree eV’ is registered at Stuttgart,Germany since November 2019. The founders of the Club had planned to hold a Durga Puja in 2020 but had to wait till 2021 due to pandemic restrictions. On its inaugural Puja in 2021, the total footfall recorded was over 500 for 3 days of Puja. This is a very impressive figure considering the first Puja of the club in Germany. The Crew for the first Sarbojanin Durga Puja comprises founding members from eight families located in Stuttgart, Esslingen, and Aalen areas in Germany.

The Maitree Crew 2021 
  • Subhrajyoti Bose –President 
  • Manas Ganguly - Vice President
  • Abhishek Dey - Secretary (also credited with meticulous handling of logistics, one of the most important assignments that contribute to the success of an event). 
  • Soumanta Banerjee – Purohit (priest).An ex-student of Mitra Institution where Kalia Sen Bari Puja is held every year since 1967. 
  •  Rakesh Maji – Cashier 
  •  Aritra Ukil- Auditor 
  •  Anasuya Banerjee – Bhog 
  •  Priyanka Sahu – Bhog 
  •  Paromita Chakraborty – Bhog 
  •  Deepra Mukherjee – Bhog 
  •  Bani Banerjee – Bhog 
  •  Debopriya Deb – Bhog & Cultural 
  •  Abhijit Das – Cultural 
  •  Ankita Ghosh – PR & Cultural
  •  Kuntal – Logistic 
  •  Saikat Sen – Food & Kitchen 
  •  Rushy Sen – Food & Kitchen

Photo courtesy: Arundhati Sengupta
Maitree Stuttgart

Kalia Sen Bari Puja 2021, Mitra Institution, Calcutta (Pic courtesy: Anirban Sen)

Kalia Sen Bari Puja 2021, Mitra Institution, Calcutta (Pic courtesy: Anirban Sen)


kalia 2
Kalia Sen Bari Puja 2021,Mitra Institution,Calcutta

Stuttgart Maitree Durga Puja 2021,Stuttgart

Stuttgart Maitree Durga Puja, Stuttgart












The food offered for lunch on Nabami. On the bottom left is'Malpoa', a delicious Bengali sweet dish.
- (pic courtesy: Saikat Sen)



What a great recount of Puja at Deutschland.
Vivid and detailed description!
Love it.

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