Durga Puja celebrates the power of the Indian Goddess Durga. She is a symbol of strength and undaunting courage for Indian women. Emphasizing on the power of women, when no God could kill the demon Mahishasura, it was a woman Goddess, Durga who defeated the evil and established peace. It is the respect for this power that Durga Pooja is celebrated all over the country, but nothing better than the cheerful city of Kolkata.
There is no better time to visit Kolkata than a few days into the preparations of Durga Puja. The whole city uniting to celebrate this festival with such dedication and love is truly a sight to behold.
Here are some reasons why you should visit Kolkata this Durga Pooja:
1. Visiting the majestic pandals
The Durga puja experience is incomplete if you do not go pandal hopping. These pandals dedicated to the goddess are designed and decorated based on various interesting themes. Creativity and spirituality pour out of them. Work on these pandals begins from the months of March-April itself. There are pandals made entirely out of coins, idols 3D printed out of biodegradable materials, and even a Harry Potter themed pandals. The whole city is lit up all night and it is the best time to do pandal-hopping with family and friends.
2. Enter another world: Theme based Puja
What is more exciting than pandal hopping? Getting amazed by the themes of these Pandals. From the Baahubali’s Mahishmati palace to a pandal made from flowers, Kolkata streets undergo a complete transformation. One can revisit the 80’s just by visiting the North Kolkata Puja, where sculptures can be seen playing musical instruments before the Goddess. Durga Puja emulates amazing carnivals where art and culture act as a pathway to pleasure for many.
3. Amazing Food: World Cuisine at one place
From puchkas, the king of street food to mouth-watering Kati rolls and Ghugni, Kolkata becomes a street food hub during the festival. While the entire country adopts a strict vegetarian diet, people in Kolkata enjoy non-vegetarian dishes with great zeal. The pandals are loaded with a large number of stalls selling everything from chicken or mutton dishes to kababs, from Chinese to Mughlai cuisine, Thai and Lebanese, you name it, they have it.
If you are a food lover, this is exactly the time and place for you to try and give your taste buds wings.
4. The Bengali Mishti
Mishti Doi and the spongy, tasty Rosogollas will melt in your mouth the moment you take them in. Apart from these, one can find the authentic nutmeg-scented darbesh crammed with raisins and khoya, the glistening yellow and orange grains of the mihidana. Sweets like the Joynagarer moa, the syrup-soaked sar bhaja, the ultimate Gurer Sandesh, made out of powdered rice and jaggery (gur), Chhanar jilipi (or jalebi) keep tourists coming back to the pandals time and again.
Apart from the Pandals and themed Puja, what fills the heart of every man with devotion and serenity are the idols of the Goddess Durga and her children (Lord Ganesha and Goddess Saraswati). Deshapriya Park, located in Kolkata is home to a massive idol of Goddess Durga standing at 88 feet! The Kharagpur district made a Durga Pratima out of coins completely!!
6. Contests and Events
With a lot of food and enjoyment, one thing that attracts people of every culture is the unique competitions and events during Durga Puja. The Dhunuchi Naach competition, where one has to hold the dhunuchi (an earthen incense burner) and dance to the beats of the dhaak (dholak) without letting the dhunuchi fall. Other competitions held are the Conch Blowing competition, the Matki Phod contest and the usual games like Antakshari, the musical chair etc.. Dance and musical nights are organised every night to lift peoples’ spirits and fill them with energy and enthusiasm.
7. City of Art and Culture
The rich culture of art and music can be seen almost everywhere during the festival. The kilometer-long alpana (Rangoli) on the Lake View Road is a magnificent sight to see. Almost every building and house is well decorated and lighted. Wherever one goes, one can find the essence of traditional Indian music being played.
8. The Bengali Fashion
Durga Puja is also a fashion fest for both men and women. Wearing the traditional taant (cotton) white-red saree with gold jewelry, shakha pola and a big red bindi on the forehead, women in Bengal look like an incarnation of the Goddess herself. Men aren’t far behind. Wearing dhoti-kurta and Punjabis along with Kolhapuri chappals, men compete in the pandals to win the hearts of their ladies.
9. A City that never Sleeps
During the Durga Puja festival i.e. from Panchami (the fifth day of the Puja) to Dashami (the last day, the tenth day), Kolkata is called “the City of Joy”. Days and nights merge in the spirit of celebration. If you want to spend quality time with your family and friends, leaving the burden of the usual boring life, a visit to Kolkata during Durga Puja is the best thing to do.
Durga Puja Pandals in Kolkata
Kolkata is a cultural hub and its richness is amplified thanks to Durga Puja every year. There is so much to do and experience here. Experiencing Durga Puja in Kolkata will satisfy all your expectations from a spiritual vacation. So book your tickets, pack your bags and get ready for an enlightening journey!