Durga Puja
Photos
 
Brief

When you start thinking about a particular place, what are the few things that strike your mind? What is it famous for, what is its cultural heritage, what is the ideal time to visit the place so that its beauty and charm can be witnessed whole heartedly? For Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal, there are too many factors that attract a tourist to take a tour of the city. One of them being the regional festival of West Bengal, Durga Puja. It is one of the most sought after religious festivals in India that is celebrated even in the countries abroad.

Durga Puja is the biggest festival of West Bengal and bengalis fondly call it Pujo. It has risen in grandeur and people of all backgrounds, irrespective of their religious views, have started participating in it.

Maa Durga as the Bengalis call her, arrives on a lion, her 10 arms weilding weapons of war. At her feet lies the villian, the Mahishasura, the symbol of evil, slain, blood spurting out of his chest which has just been pierced by her spear. Durga is flanked on eithe side by her four children. Her two daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati, goddesses in their own right - the former of wealth and the latter of knowledge - are esorted by their own faithful mascots, the owl and the swan repectively. Also accompanying Durga are her two sons, the pious Ganesha and the foppish Kartikeya, piggybacked on their mascots, the rat and the peocock respectively. The clay idols, dressed up in colourful cloth and glittering gems, brandishing an assortment of articles such as weapons of war and musical instruments, are not less than six feet in height. 

Majorly spoken language is Bengali.

 

 
Travel Tips

Kolkata and the other parts of West Bengal remain chaotic owing to the festival, almost everyone out in the streets making the city overcrowded and their high spirited souls to enjoy the four days to the fullest. Truly acknowledged as one of the major festivals in India as well as abroad, Durga Puja can leave any tourist visiting the city and experiencing the festival in a state of awe and shock with the arrangements and grandeur that each of the puja pandals have.

A few tips for the tourists to help experience a hassle free and enjoyable Durga Puja include:

Prepare an itinerary of pandal hopping that is practical to accomplish. Many big and renowned pandals are located at close distances from one another.You can choose one area and finish visiting most of the pandals in that zone in one go.

There will be difficulties in car parking. It is better to park the car at some nearby locality if there is no parking space alloted near the Durga Puja pandal.

When it comes to food, there are many options to choose from. Make sure to check the special buffets that are arranged by some of the premium hotels and restaurants.

Be careful with your personal belongings while visiting the different pandals.



When to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • July
  • Aug
  • Sept
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
sprinkles
  • ° Max
  • ° Min
  • mm
 
Things to do

Durga Puja is the celebration of home coming of Goddess Durga with her children, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Kartik and Lord Ganesha. The entire puja is about her triumph of good over evil and is a symbol of eliminating all worries of her devotees. The festival starts with Mahalaya and continues for the next 10 days.

In Kolkata, the excitement begins much before autumn even arrives. Shops start announcing puja sales and there is frenzied buying of gifts everywhere. It is a tradition in most Bengali homes to wear a brand new outfit each day of the puja and exchange new clothes much before he actual puja week.

The pandals crop up all over the city. Parks and pavements, playgrounds and parking lots - nothing is spared. The skeletal strutures of pandals are made from bamboo. The frames are then covered with loth or canvas. The pandals are usually elaborate works of art with themes borrowed from history and religion.

Out of these 10 days, the celebration starts from the sixth and continues till the tenth day when the idols of the Gods and Goddesses are immersed in the water of River Ganga. In these four-five days, the entire city of Kolkata and its people are found in complete festive mood, wearing new clothes, eating away to glory at different places and take a tour of the entire city to visit the puja pandals and see the idols of Goddess Durga and others. On each of these four days, there are elaborate pujas that take place both in the morning and evening. The tradition of offering prayers to Goddess Durga through anjali is followed by everyone.

If you are visiting the city a few days before Durga Puja starts, you can check out the place where the idols are made, Kumartuli. This is an amazing place where hundreds of artisans work to make idols in different sizes. Another major attraction that never ceases to surprise the citizens are the different themes and types of artwork found in the puja pandals. Each pandal has a different theme and is decorated accordingly. The idols are also created and decorated keeping in mind the theme. Say for instance, at Suruchi Sangha in New Alipore, the committee members choose a theme based on a certain state and its culture and decorate the entire pandal and its surroundings with the cultural elements of that place. These pandals are lit up in the evening and gives the eyes a magnificent view to watch.

Durga Puja is that time of the year that people use to re-do their wardrobes and buy new clothes. Many of the stores offer discounts of clothes and other accessories. This is also the time when food is enjoyed from the heart without thinking too much. With each pandal, there are multiple small food stalls which sell ready food for the visitors to munch on. The major restaurants offer special menu and buffet at a special rate. Otherwise, each of the puja committees arrange for bhog as lunch. It is better to have bhog on one of the days to experience why the simple traditional food tastes so nice only during this time.

The festivals ends with the visarjan of the idols in Ganges and thousands of visitors are found to gather on the banks to witness the scene. The visarjan takes place on Dashami which is followed by a get together of sorts known as BijoyaDashami. This is a day when the families and friends gather for a grand meal and praying to get back together for the coming year’s puja.

 
Getting Around

Catching local transport in Kolkata - transport tips on getting around Kolkata like a local. Dinky but photogenic trans follow more predictable routes along select city tracks, and are immune to one-way traffic.

 
Places to Stay

The capital city of West Bengal offers accommodation of all types and price ranges. There are high range, mid-range and low range hotels available.

High Range:

Hotels such as ITC Sonar (starting Rs. 8000 onwards), Taj Bengal (starting Rs.9000 onwards), and Hyatt Regency (starting Rs. 7500 onwards) are the high range hotels. These hotels offer a comprehensive service to the guests ranging from airport transportation, full services health spa, medical services, poolside bar, multi-lingual staff, wireless internet services along with many others.

ITC Sonar

Address: JBS Haldane Avenue, Opp. Science City, Kolkata 700 046

Phone: +91 22 2345 4545

Taj Bengal

Address:34B, Belvedere Road, Alipore, Kolkata 700 027

Phone: +91 33 6612 3939

Hyatt Regency

Address: 1, Sector III, Salt Lake City, Kolkata

Phone: +91 33 2335 1234

 

Mid-Range Hotels:

Dimensions Tangerine Guest House in New Alipore (starting Rs.3000 onwards), Southern Plaza (starting Rs. 4900 onwards) and Fortune Park Panchwati (starting Rs. 3900 onwards) are some of mid-range hotels. These places also offer airport services, have completely air-conditioned rooms, wireless internet, health clubs, multi-line phones, in-room safe, etc.

Dimesnions Tangerine Guest House, New Alipore

Address: 90/S/2, Block E, New Alipore, Opp Samsung Showroom, Kolkata 700 053

Southern Plaza

Address:73, Southern Plaza

Kolkata 700 029

Phone: +91 33 4021 3900

Fortune Park Panchwati

Address:Kona Expressway, Howrah 711 403

Phone:+91 33 3988 4444

 

Low Range Hotels:

Hotel Heera Holiday Inn (starting Rs. 1600 onwards), Hotel Oriental AC (starting Rs. 999 onwards) and Sweet Home (starting Rs.500 onwards) are some of the low-range hotels to choose from. These hotels provide airport transportation, wireless internet, smoking rooms, attached bathrooms and parking spaces.

Hotel Heera Holiday Inn

Address:Taltala, Kolkata 700 016

Phone:+91 33 2229 1642

Hotel Oriental AC

Address:9A Marquis Street, Park Street Bicinity, Central Kolkata, Kolkata 700 016

Sweet Home

Address:Near Airport, Kolkata 700 081

 
How to Reach

  • Kolkata is completely accessible by air. Netaj iSubhash Chandra Bose airport gets both international and domestic airplanes. There are pre-paid cabs, Volvo buses available to travel to the city.
  • Kolkata has a good connectivity with the major cities in the country as well as the smaller towns in West Bengal. Howrah Junction, Sealdah junction and Kolkata Station are the major railway stations in the city.
  • Kolkata is very well connected with almost all the cities of India via road and national highways. The Esplanade Bus Terminus is the main bus terminus in the city and buses for all places are available at this place.

 
Surrounding Attractions

The surrounding locations where Durga Puja is celebrated with equal grandeur include Belur Math (on the outskirts of Kolkata) the serene headquarters of Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math lies north of the city, across the Hooghly. It was founded by Swami Vivekananda in 1899. The building cleverly designed to represent a church, a masjid and a temple from different angles.

Bishnupur now mostly reduced to a cluster of modern constructions with huge hoardings adertising Baluchari saris. This is an area famous for its burnt red terracotta brick temples, Balucharis saris and the endearing Bankura clay horses. And it is mainly to be reommended to heritage seekers and connoisseurs of folk art and craft.

Shantinektan is more popular in Kolkata as a pleasant gatewatys than as an university. It is a place where you may just park yourself nar the Kopai river,a nd watch the world come to a standstill. Simply cycling and walking make a memorable holiday here.

Murshidabad used to be the last capital of Bengal before it came under he British rule. The twin towns mof Beharampore and Murshidabad sraddle the Bhagirathiriver and the district has plenty of natural beauty. Once you get to Berhampore the drive to Mrushidabad takes 25 minutes with the river on the left and rural scenery all aound. The area is heavily wooded. The narrow streets of the old imeprial area of Lalbagh are straight out of a poster for a rural idyll. The mango orhards in these parts are famous, the rice, jute and mustard crops are interspersed with mango and banana trees lumps of bamboo grow by the lakes and streams. West of the river, there are mulbery groves where some of the finest sil in India is sill cultivated.

 
Emergency No.

India's emergeny number: 112

Polie Station: 100

Fire Brigade: 101

Ambulance: 102

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