If you are planning to visit Kolkata, Durga Puja is the perfect time to do so. Each year, the festival is celebrated with great fervour and transforms Kolkata’s streets into a vibrant kaleidoscope, festooned with elaborate pandals and dazzling light displays. Celebrated between September and October, Durga Puja spans 10 days packed with elaborate rituals. The festival boasts of a cult of its own and draws all kinds of people from far and wide. Besides stunning displays of art and creativity, the festival’s collective frenzy holds a special draw. Although pandal-hopping remains the key highlight, here are some other culture-soaked experiences that must not be missed:
Watch Beautiful Handcrafted Idols Being Made at Kumartuli
For ardent art lovers, Durga Puja marks as the perfect occasion to awe at the stupendous creations at Kumortuli where beautiful idols are handcrafted. Idols ranging from as small as the size of a finger to as tall as 15 feet in height, can be spotted at this not-so-fancy town. There are other shops as well selling weapons and accessories. Photography is allowed but is chargeable. The best day to visit the place is on the auspicious day of ‘choku daan’ when eyes are drawn on all the idols of Goddess Durga that infuses in them the divine look.
Embellished with commendable artwork and magnificent structures, Pandals have always formed the core of Durga Puja. The featured artworks stun the onlookers and give a hint of the Bengali tradition. The best way to go pandal-hopping is to surrender yourself to the crowd. Ranging from contemporary themes to the traditional ones, these pandals justify the grandeur that the festival is associated with.
Dig into the Festive Fare
Although the city of joy is known for its lip-smacking Bengali cuisine served throughout the year, Durga Puja is the time to relish it in its most authentic form. Besides street food, Bengali dishes and local cuisines, there’s also special Durga food served in many restaurants across the city. A visit to any best Bengali restaurant in Kolkata during this time sets the stage for the most memorable epicurean journey ever. The ‘bhog’ offered at pandals comprising delectable Bengali desserts such as sondesh, mishti doi and roshgulla is also something that mustn’t be missed.
Behold the Immersion Rites
The 10th day of the grand celebrations marks the end of the festival when the goddess is bid adieu with much fervour. Find a vantage spot at Babughat and watch numerous idols being immersed into the Hooghly river. A boat tour can also be availed to witness the immersion from the river itself. If you are fonder of processions, head to the Red Road to be one amongst an excited troupe of people.
Book one of the best hotels in Kolkata to celebrate the Durga Pooja that has become synonymous with unmatched city-wide revelry, pandal hopping and larger-than-life Durga idols.