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Durga Puja reveres and pays homage to the Hindu goddess, Durga, The Goddess of Preservation, Strength and Protection. While it is observed and celebrated across the world but unlike any other place, it is celebrated in Kolkata with utmost grandiose. The ten day event in Kolkata is not just met with daily prayers but is celebrated with a lot of celebrations, ranging from excellent food, decorated streets and an overall happiness amongst each and everyone in the city.
For an immersive and unforgettable experience.
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Durga Idol in a pandal during Durga Puja in Kolkata. Here, Durga Ma is killing Mahishasura; Lakshmi and Ganesha on the left with Saraswati and Kartikeya on the right.
To be in Kolkata during Puja season is enough, every corner you turn to has endless possibilities. The choices are endless, but to make choosing easy, here are some experiences not to be missed.
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The beautiful Suruchi Sangha Pandal, 2019.
Pandals are one of the chief attractions of Durga Puja. These temporary structures set up to venerate the Goddess are a sight to behold. The Pandals in Kolkata are everything, from traditional to experimental, simplistic to architectural marvels. Without a doubt everyone, no matter their preference, would find at least one pandal that they truly love. If you like grand structures Bagabazar is the place to be. To experience the royal heritage and history of ‘Bonedi Bari Pujo’, Shobhabazar Rajbari is not to be missed. If you like innovative design and modern art Suruchi Sangha is a must-see. Ultimately, if it is authenticity and tradition that you are keen on, Belur Math Durga Puja is for you.
Eat all you can!
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The flavours of Durga Puja.
If you are made to choose only one thing to do while you’re in Kolkata during Durga Puja, choose to eat. Bengalis take their food very seriously, that’s exactly why it’s mandatory to relish these delicacies. No matter where you go, whether the streets or the Pandals you will certainly find a line-up of food stalls. Even the restaurants curate a special menu just for the Puja season. Some must-try street foods include a variety of chops, Mughlai Porota, Kabiraji, and every dessert you come across.
Shop till you drop
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College Street, Kolkata.
Part of Durga Puja’s beauty is the charming ways in which people dress up. Tradition embellishes the streets of Kolkata as the people can be seen in the rich colors and drapes of their ever so regal outfits. To look the part of a Puja goer you don’t need to break the bank. Kolkata’s shopping scene can accommodate just about any budget. Visit Market Street, Park Street, Stuart Hogg Market, College Street, and Gariahat Market and you will find everything your heart desires.
Immerse into the rituals
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Durga Puja is after all a festival celebrating Goddess Durga and over the evil demon Mahishasura, so to truly have an unforgettable and stand-out experience, we recommend witnessing the rituals. On Shashti, the first day of Durga Puja festivities, Bodhon takes place. Bodhon is the ritual of unveiling the deity’s face. On the second day the ritual of ‘Kola Bou Snan’, revolves around decorating a small banana plant as a bride and bathing it in a river nearby, for a good harvest. On mahaashtami, the first ritual is Kumari Puja in which a young girl is worshipped, depicting a younger form of goddess Durga, Belur Math is where the ritual is observed with grandiosity. Sometime in the afternoon on the same day, Anjali is also observed which involves offering flowers to Goddess Durga. Perhaps the most iconic of all the rituals happen on both Ashtami and the following day of Navami, Dhunuchi Naach. This involves people dancing with dhunuchi, clay pots filled with burning coconut husk and camphor, to the beats of dhak or drums. On the last day, married women participate in Sindur Khela. The final ritual, Bhashaan, is when the goddess’s idol is immersed in the Ganges, there is no better place than Babu Ghat to see the Bhashaan ceremony.
Take a stroll
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Kolkata, the city of Joy.
The already bustling streets of Kolkata completely transform during the Puja Season. The entire city is graced by lights and decorations and the air is laced with the aroma of the string of delicacies all around and aromatics from the flowers. There is no better way to fully enjoy Durga Puja in Kolkata than to be present, spontaneous, and let the magic of the city take over.