Puja Pandals in KolkataAges ago, earth was inhabited not only by humans but also by other mythical creatures. There was chaos all around the Universe during that period as demons ruled the lands. They were not afraid of the Gods. In such conditions, evil always won and destroyed the good. Among such chaos a demon called Mahishasura praised the Gods and asked for a boon. He manipulated the Gods to bless him with a wish that would grant him life for eternity and make him the king of the three realms of universe. Mahishasura wanted to be immortal, but the Gods sensed trouble in his wish. Instead of giving him, the wish of immortality the Gods granted him a wish, which would keep him safe from any harm caused by males. The boon infused confidence in Mahishasura and he started committing heinous crimes. Sensing that the Universe will soon turn to evil, all the Gods invoked Goddess Durga, who being a female was divine and powerful. After a dangerous battle, the Goddess kills the demon and peace and restores peace on earth. So starts the legend of the famous Durga puja.
Every year infused with enthusiasm and with a belief in this mythical story, people of West Bengal. Tripura, Assam and Jharkhand celebrate Durga festival. With utmost devotion, a five-day celebration begins. People invoke the goddess with utmost dedication and praise. Puja Pandals are made at every locality where the idol of the goddess along with her sons and daughters are praised and worshipped.
Over the last few decades, puja pandals have become the main attraction during these five days. 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:
- F.D. Block in Salt Lake
- Suruchi Sangha Puja
- Putiary Sarbojanin Durgotsav
- Durga Puja Pandal in Selimpur
- Behala Natun Dal
- Barisha Club
- Vivekananda Sporting Club
- Bosepukur Talbagan
- Babubagan Sarbojanin
- Mudiali Club
- Jodhpur Park
- 66 Pally
- Mohammad Ali Park
- College Square
- Ekdalia Evergreen
- Santosh Mitra Square
- Nalini Sarkar Street Sarbojonin Durgotsav
- Take four days leave 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. (This might be a little time consuming and tiring).
- Chalk out a route for every day. For example, visit the pandals of north Kolkata on one day, south on another day and finally central on another day.
- For each day’s route, select the best pandals or the reputed ones that year.
- 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.