Kali Puja

India is a country of many religious festivals. Its diversity is reflected in the many regional festivals which arise from many religions. Within Hinduism itself, there are particular regional gods and goddesses and the festivals have also become unique to the region, imbuing its culture and its norms in the religious festivities and rituals. Kali Puja is celebrated mainly in West Bengal, Assam and Orissa. However, over the course of the years, it has become synonymous with West Bengal and Diwali. The festival has its own charm and its own particulars which makes it far from generic, and visiting West Bengal during the Kali Puja is an experience layered in culture, spirituality and warmth.

Travel Tips

Make sure you step out in cotton clothes and not in materials which are very flammable. There will be a lot of firecrackers being burst on the streets. Make sure you partake of the Prasad which is given out at the end of the Puja, and make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the day of the Puja because the rituals go on late into the night.

When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles Cold
  • 25.6° Max
  • 12.4° Min
  • 19.2 mm
  • Carry Heavy woollen
Things to do

Goddess Kali is a major deity in Hinduism. And her festival is a major occasion in the state of West Bengal. While most households in this state worship her on a regular basis, a single day in the year is dedicated to her worship or puja on a grand scale. This date falls in the month of Kartik, which is between October and November. Almost always, the Kali Puja coincides with Diwali. While this date is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Lakshmi in North India, in the eastern part of the country, this day is reserved for the worship of this feiry goddess.

Every year, during the stipulated time, on an Amavasya (no moon) night, the puja for Goddess Kali takes place. She is one of the incarnations of Goddess Durga and is a more aggressive form of the same. The idol is depicted as standing up with her tongue out, and one foot on the chest of Lord Shiva who is lying at her feet. In one hand she holds a severed head while in the other she brandishes a sword, and her neck is decorated with a garland of skulls. Goddess Kali stands for justice and vindication.

According to Hindu mythology, two demons, Shmabhu and Nishambhu had threatened the king of gods, Indra. They had challenged all the gods, who in turn, turned to Goddess Durga for protection. Thus, Goddess Kali was born from her forehead, in order to defeat the demons. She slaughtered them all, ans wore their skulls around her neck. But the aggression took control of her being as she started killing everyone around her. At this point, Lord Shiva, in an attempt to stop her, lay himself down at her feet, and when she stepped over him, she realized what she was doing, and she stuck out her tongue in shock at her own actions.

Calcutta is the hub of all activities during this time. As the only major metropolitan in West Bengal, there are various big Pujas which go on during this time in the city. Pandals are put up all over the city, and large Idols are placed there, ready for the rituals to begin. The actual worshipping time during the Kali Puja is late into the night, almost always after midnight. Tantrik Pujas are often performed for this goddess. She stands as the destroyer of evil, and gives people protection from diseasters. Lamps are lit all over the city in the evening, as are candles. People step out of their houses in traditional clothes, and burst firecrackers till the time for the Puja comes by.

When in Calcutta, you should dress up in the traditional sari or kurta-pajama before heading off to watch the rituals. Make sure to burst some firecrackers and walk around the city, watching the lbeautiful twinkling lights which adorn every house. There are a few famous temples dedicated to Goddess Kali which you can visit. These temples are very crowded on the day of the Puja, but braving the bustle is almost always worth it. Kalighat Temple is located in the heart of the city. It was built in 1809 at the site of an ancient temple. Many pilgrims from all over the country come here to worship the goddess throughout the year. But the vibrancy on the day of Kali Puja is unmatched. Another important temple is the Dakshineshwar Temple which lies in the outskirts of Calcutta. Built by Rani Rasmoni between 1847 and 1855,  on the banks of the River Ganga, this temple too, is an important pilgrimage site. The other temple is Tarapith, which is about 300 miles from Calcutta. It is located on the banks of Dwarka River.

Places to Stay


The Oberoi Grand and Taj Bengal are two luxurious options to opt for, if you wish to splurge. Both are 5-Star hotels with all the facilities assured to make you feel pampered. The room rates for the former start from 9,200 INR while room rates for the latter begin from 9,400 INR.


Casa Fortuna is an affordable option located in the heart of the city. With amenities such as free Wi-Fi, free parking and good service, the room rates here begin from 4,700 INR. The Chrome Hotel is also a good option. Room rates here begin from 5,200 INR.


Shree Shyam Guest House an Diplomat Guest House are two good options for those on a tight budget. Both have room rates starting from 900 INR, and the rooms are clean, spacious and safe.

How to Reach

  • Calcutta has its own airport which is well connected to all the other parts of the country.
  • The station at Calcutta too, is very well connected to the other parts of the country.
  • You can drive in from many other parts of the country into Calcutta. Within the city itself, there are many means for public transport.

Surrounding Attractions

Apart from the temples mentioned in the outskirts of Calcutta, if you plan your stay well, you should come to the city a little earlier to watch the Durga Puja too. North Bengal is the perfect escape for those who are tired with the festivities and want to relax after that. The scenic state of Sikkim is also very close by.

Important Numbers

Lalbazar Police Headquarters Control Room : (91-33) 2214-3024  /  2214-3230  /  2214-1310