This post was most recently updated on December 22nd, 2018
|Badamtala Ashar Shangha Club|
|In Andaman with the natives|
|The beautiful statue of the Goddess|
|Source: The Better India|
|Bengal’s famous Dhokra Art (artwork on non-ferrous metal) celebrated in Mudiali Park.|
|Kumartuli Park Puja Pandal was conceptualized by children|
If you like this, share your friends and subscribe to our blog for your weekly dose of wanderlust!
Durga Puja in Kolkata is one of the most fascinating festivals in India! It was surprising to see that most of the budget for the event comes from big corporations. The weather is of course, another thing to keep in mind especially if you're coming from a place with a different climate. My favorite part was Barisha Club Sharbojonin and how they used the treatment of parents in their old age as a theme. It was a lovely read, thank you for sharing 🙂
I don't know much about Durga Puja but this article explains it well. Thanks for sharing it.
This sounds like such a cool festival! That street art is so cool. I had never heard much about Durga Puja before reading this post.
What a beautiful and colorful festival. Everything has so much meaning behind it. I find it interesting they are obsessed with light skin.
Those colors are mesmerizing! Love the festival and while reading I've definitely learned plenty of fresh things I didn't know before 🙂
This festival looks fascinating. Is it on the same dates every year? I love your style of writing about the different pandals. The one about the mother with the new clothes for the son that never visited made me cry! I would love to experience this festival, thank you for introducing it to me.
I never visited any Bengali styled Durga Puja Pandal, but I can make out how much fun it must be. The colors of rangoli, Sindhoor Khela and visiting all different themed Pandals must be really a interesting trip. I would now plan to vist Durga Pooja in Kolkata next year.
Excellent list, Sinjana! I think quite a few puja committees are doing a wonderful job of creating more awareness about issues that are plaguing the society. I did visit some of these pandals and I'd add Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha to this list. They portrayed the plight of hundreds of minors that work in tea stalls around the city and have no or limited access to education.
Wow.. I missed that one. Hope the impact goes far and deep, beyond all festivities
Thanks Yukti. Kolkata's Durga Puja is really special. You just need to be ready for the crowd and traffic jam in the evening, or you can go for a night tour from 1 am to 7 am for 3-4 days. And be ready to walk a lot 😀
Thank you so much. The dates vary every year as it follows the Bengali Lunar calendar. Next year it will be on 4th October. It's indeed the biggest open air art festival on earth, people come from different places of the world and struggle with the crowd and humidity to experience this
Thanks Daniel. It was quite an emotional experience for me too, though I didn't completely understand the significance of a lot of props they used. Well, I don't claim to be an expert of art either 🙂
Wow! What a beautiful article explaining different pandals. I was not aware of them. Though Durga Puja festival always seems fascinating to me. Would love to experience it in person.
I have never yearned to step into pandals, despite knowing so many Bengalis. But the street art that you have mentioned looks so super inviting. I can never get over the fact that people work for months on the idols only to immerse them. Faith has many colours and this is so refreshing to see.
Amazing place to be during Navratras to experience Durga Puja. Its rightly said your visit to Kolkata is incomplete without experience the huge pandals of Durga Puja.
A grand celebration from my hometown and one which is very close to me. Durga Puja celebration is absolutely immense and the biggest one in the city and perhaps in the world. The art and the tradition all together ius just a great way to celebrate. It ties in well with the cuisine and one which is very authentic and tasty. The lights and the pandals are all just a great way to celebrate and show the heritage and culture of this great ocasiion and state. Thanks for sharing someting that is so close to me
Wow! Hello fellow Calcuttan!
Durga Puja is definitely Kolkata’s Grand Festival. 400 people joining in to create the longest floor painting is something. Nice to learn about the theme on life of sex workers for a floor paining in an attempt to depict equality and inclusivity as you mention while I was aware that a handful of soil is taken from a prostitute’s door for the idol. I am amazed at the variety of pandals and how friends in Kolkata go for pandal hopping during the festival. Even though their feet hurt and it gets exhausting, the energy and excitement is awaited year long. The estimated expenditure of 123 Cr! Wow! I would love to experience the Durga Puja in Kolkata.
This is one favourite festival of mine that I always looked forward to even as a kid.I love the pandal hopping associated with Durga Puja and Ganesh Chathurthi especially in Hyderabad. Never been to Bengal to witness the festivities but that is something which is topmost on my list. You have brought alive the pandals through your captures and the one on Old age is surely a thought-provoking concept and food for thought, too. But my favourite from your list has to be the one modelled on Dhokra art.It looks beautiful. Thanks for refreshing my memories of Hyderabad Durga Pujo through this post of yours ,Sinjana !
OGM! This festival sounds incredible, it is definitely one to go on the list. The 2017 addition of the street art has really got me interested. It's a lot of work for the carnival and I'm impressed it was started with such a taboo subject for the conservative country. The themes of the art all seem to be heart-wrenching and powerful. Sounds and looks like an awe-inspiring event.
I want to visit India so badly, and the vibrant festivals are one reason why. Thanks for sharing these insights!
This was such a fascinating article! I used to live in India, and have been to a Durja Puja, but I had no idea that it was required to get a handful of soil from a sex worker! That's so interesting and kind of bizarre. I'm glad that they're trying to highlight equality, though, and support the marginalised.
What a vibrant, colourful interesting festival. I hope to visit India soon, I've always wanted to go.
You have given such a detailed account of so many Puja themes. These places are scattered over different localities from north to south. You visited all these places and prepared a post. Hats off.
I wish I was there for Durga Puja! I like pujas, it purifies my soul… How incredible tradition that is… Thanks for the detailed info. I will try my best for the next year
I had never even heard of Durga Puja before today, after reading through this and looking at all these art installations, I'm already curious for next years! Hoping to attend the next
Thanks Gonca! Sure you should visit next year
glad you feel that way!
Thank you so much! There was a time I used to go for pandal hopping with my parents and other families for whole night! those were the golden days. Nowadays I dont get to see so many pandals, but luckily I saw some of the best ones!
Thank you and glad that you came to learn something new today. Yes, there are in fact 4 crucial ingredients for the clay used to prepare the Durga idol – soil from Ganga ghats, cow urine, cow-dung and soil from the door of a prostitute. It is said that the priest has to go and beg for the soil at a prostitute's door till she gives it with her own hands. The reason behind the ritual is unknown.
It indeed is and I'm glad that I could inspire you about a festival that is unknown to the rest of the world
Thank you so much! I have never been to Hyderabad for Puja but I'm sure it must be awesome. I kind of sense your love for rural artistry from your writings, so I'm not surprised by your choice of Dhokra art. It was one of my top 10 too.
Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Hope you get to experience the puja next year
I like the Andaman pandals the best. Like you said, it looks like real people. Nice weather during days of celebration is a plus, so everyone enjoyed it much.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
This sounds like such a vibrant, colorful festival. I love how it is trying to break barriers by showing #darkislovely too and of course, sex workers are equal to all other people. Glad to hear the weather was nice!
Not heard of this festival before but it looks amazing! Such a colourful culture 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts Anshula
I’d never heard of the festival before but it sounds great! The pandals look amazing too. Elle
I love that the cultural festival is free for everyone to attend. It's important to explore other cultures. Thanks for sharing.
Loved your post. I too visited Kolkata for Durga Puja recently but haven't got a chance to write about it.
What a beautiful and colourful festival! I would love to participate something like this when I get to go to India. It shows the local customs and traditions and I just love it. Hopefully I get to so visit soon.
Really interesting to learn more about how Durga Puja is celebrated in Kolkata. It really seems like there are some huge differences in the way different dates are celebrated across the different regions. The festival looks so fascinating, colourful and vibrant, would be great to see it.