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Bengalis love Anandapuja


Anandabazar Patrika Puja website,, which has been conceptualized and designed by iridium Interactive has been a major hit with the Bengali community; the website pocketed a cool 10 million hits in only 15 days.

Between October 15 and October 25, about 1 lakh Internet users from across the world had visited this website. This year’s innovative attractions and exciting features attributed to the good show put up by the website. “Perhaps, helped the global Bengali community to get the truest feel of the Pujas. The fact that this true-blue essence of the Puja could be accessible from the comfort of their homes must have added to the site’s popularity,” an ABP source said.

The website is a unique presentation from the ABP group – one of the largest media publishing groups in India and a quintessentially Bengali institution. The site, launched in 2003, had received a large number of hits especially from non-resident Bengalis in the US and Europe even last year. This year, however, all previous records have been broken. The hits poured in from all over the world, which included a huge number of visitors from various parts of India, including Kolkata. This is the second year in a row that iridium Interactive has designed this website.

So, what was the secret of the website’s success? ABP sources said, it had to do with the group’s understanding of what Puja means to a Bengali. “Puja is not just a crazy Bengali religious thing. It’s a festival that transcends all boundaries of religion, affluence, creed or class. It’s a festival that touches everyone in Bengal with its unique fervor and spirit. It’s a time of the year when every Bengali, wherever in the world s/he is, thinks of home and wants to be a part of the celebrations,” executives associated with the website said.

The website has photographs of Durga Pujas from across the world. So, just the way a Bengali Parisian can see the celebrations at Ekdalia or Mohammed Ali Park – localities in Calcutta famous for their pandals and idols, someone from Siliguri can enjoy the Pujas at San Francisco.

The website has other attractions as well. For example, a section called Pujor Paanch Din (five days of Pujas) has an audiovisual on the Puja mass-frenzy from all over Calcutta. Visitors can get a first-hand feel of the sights, sounds and colours of the festival from Shashthi (the first day of the Durga Puja, as practiced in Bengal) to Dashami (the last day). One can also browse through Puja news collected by ABP’s journalists from other parts of the world.

For Bengali patrons interested in downloading goodies from the Internet, has catchy ringtones and logos for mobile phones; and images, screensavers and wallpapers for desktops. To bring the Puja flavour into the Bengali kitchen, the website offers authentic traditional (and arguably mouth-watering too) Bengali recipes. For children, it has a special section called Majaroo where kids can enjoy animated movies and take part in fun games.

The Bijoya greetings section has greetings cards featuring artworks designed by renowned artists from Kolkata. In short, the website has almost everything that a Bengali needs to be part of the festivities.

The 2004 version of the site was launched just after the Mahalaya around mid-October. Unlike last year, the ABP group has decided to extend the tenure of the website beyond the usual three months and make it a permanent feature. “We felt it’s a great idea to keep the Durga Puja revelry alive till the next season. Now, which Bengali isn’t going to love that?” the source quipped.