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Durga Puja in Kolkata

Durga puja is the festival of happiness, it is the festival where the Hindus celebrate the victory of good over evil. Though several things have changed over the years in the celebration of Durga Puja, few things still retain its authentic value. When I was young, Durga Puja fascinated me but I never knew what it really meant. The six days puja is backed with several stories that tell how it originated. Durga Puja is no different. There are several stories that goes beyond normal human understanding to explain the stories of mythology.

Durga Puja Preparations in Kolkata

One such version of Durga Puja story introduced to me by my grandmother was the story of Mahishasura (the buffalo demon). In this story, Goddess Durga slays a demon named Mahishasura to bring peace and truth on the Universe. Durga Puja in Kolkata is much more than a religious occasion as it provides opportunity to enjoy happiness and prosperity.

Durga Puja Preparation

West Bengal, especially Kolkata is known for celebrating this Puja in a grand manner. The puja’s celebrated here goes beyond religion. It is not only a symbol of good’s triumph but a festival where everyone forgets grudges and open their hearts to everyone. Bengali’s celebrate this festival with great zeal. The preparation for this festival starts 6 months before the celebration date. Durga Puja is a five day festival and the states of West Bengal, Asom, Tripura, Jharkhand enjoys celebrate this week long celebration. There are several things that are arranged by people on a group and individual level to make this entire affair a very grand and successful one. Here are a few things that are taken care of as pre-puja preparations.

  • Theme Puja and competition
  • Making beautiful deity idols
  • Lighting system and music
  • New clothes for everyone
  • Car hiring service

Theme Puja is the essence of the festival. The concept of theme has become so important these days that different clubs go beyond expectations to create an outstanding pandal. Since the last decade Kolkata has been a very active participant in theme pujas. A year before the festival, members of each club draw on a plan on the design of the pandal and the theme they want to follow. To spice things a little more, competition is organized by different corporate companies. The best theme pandal, the best deity sculpture, the ambiance, lighting, everything is marked to choose a winner. The winners are awarded with cash prizes.

Puja Shopping in Kolkata

Clothes are an essential element in enjoying the festival. Shopping for these five days starts from 3 months before. Shops offers heavy discounts. They also bring in new styles of clothes in the market. People love to wear new clothes and flaunt the fashionista within. Therefore they dress up in their new and best attire to bedazzle everyone. To make fashion a hit, many leading cosmetic brands organize competition to choose the best looking female and male in the city.

Puja Pandals in Kolkata

Pandal hopping is an integral part of modern puja celebration. However, cars are not available during the festival period due to heavy bookings. As a pre-puja preparation, people and organizations pre-books cars and buses for pandal hopping. The bookings are open from at least 2 months prior date of the festival. Like tours, people strategically plan a route every day during the puja’s for pandal hopping. Awards are given to the best pandal, best decoration, best lighting, best idol etc. The more prizes a local puja committee gets, the more people visit the pandal. From early morning to late night, these places are filled with throngs of people. Some of the famous pandals worth visiting in Kolkata are:

  1. Bagbazar Puja Pandal
  2. Ekdalia Evergreen Club Puja Pandal
  3. Suruchi Sangha Puja Pandal
  4. Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha Puja Panda
  5. College Square Puja Pandal
  6. Mohammad Ali Park Puja Pandal
  7. Badamtala Ashar Sangha Puja Pandal
  8. Kumartuli Park Puja Pandal
  9. Singhi Park Puja Pandal
  10. Bosepukur Sitala Mandir Puja Pandal

Puja pandal hopping is one of the best thing that you can do here. Puja pandal hopping is one of the best thing that you can do here. However if you want to experience, the best of Durga puja’s it is necessary to enjoy every aspect of Puja. From Maha Saptami to Vijaya Dashami, Kolkata has a delightful treat in store for everyone. Plan a hired car service for these days from at least a month before. If your budget is low, cut off a few days to avail general public transport system available. Start pandal hopping from the very first day of the puja. If you are tired and hungry, there are ample street food corners and stalls located all around Kolkata especially for the celebrations. Have a snack or fill your tummy with a heavy meal before the next pandal visit.

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