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Durga Puja – the five days of extravaganza when Kolkata soaks in tradition

The five-day long celebration is full of fun and frolic, food, buzzing streets, dazzling lights, eye-catching themes, grand puja pandals, laughter and giggles and happiness with no bounds.

SNS | Kolkata |

Durga Puja in Kolkata is not just a religious festival, but it’s the celebration of its exquisite culture and grandeur. A must visit place in the bucket list of travellers from around the World; Kolkata in Durga Puja is an experience not to be missed. The City of Joy gets decked up in festive fervour during Durga Puja.

The five-day long celebration is full of fun and frolic, food, buzzing streets, dazzling lights, eye-catching themes, grand puja pandals, laughter and giggles and happiness with no bounds. The city gets illuminated in festoons of lights as the festive fiesta continues overnight.

Celebration of the festival starts at least a week before and if you are planning to visit Kolkata to witness the extravaganza of the city in Durga Puja, here is a must-do list.

Take a stroll through Kumartuli Known as the potter’s hub of Kolkata.

Kumartuli is the place where idols of gods are etched out from clay by the potters. More than 400 sculptures have settled in Kumartuli at the bank of river Ganges over the years and have dedicated themselves to creating the most fascinating idols of gods and goddesses.

A week before Durga Puja it becomes the busiest place in town and if you take a walk through its narrow lanes, you can see how the idols are given the final shape and touch. Don’t miss the ‘Chokkhu Daan,’ the most auspicious ritual of idol making when the eyes of Maa Durga are being drawn.

Go pandal hopping

If you are in Kolkata, you cannot miss visiting the extravagant pandals with innovative themes, concepts, decors and larger than life Durga idols. From traditional to theme-based pandals, explore the array of creativity with pandal hopping. In every hook and corner of the city you will get to see renowned puja pandals so it requires some strategic planning to cover the most prestigious pujas of the city. These five days, Kolkata doesn’t sleep at night and all night pandal hopping is the key highlight of Kolkata’s Durga Puja giving you the most frenzy experience.

Ritual Kola Bou Bath

At the dawn of Mahasaptami, the auspicious ritual of Kola Bou Bath takes place. Kola Bou or the banana bride, who is regarded as the wife of Lord Ganesha, is bathed in the holy water of the Ganges. A banana tree is dressed in a lal par sada saree to give the look of a bride and is taken to the nearby river bank for the bathing ceremony. This is a ritual you should not give a miss.

Astami bhog at Bonedi Bari’s Pujo

The age-old palatial Bonedi Baris of Kolkata carries forward the legacy of Durga Puja tradition and culture. One of the striking aspects of any Bonedi Bari’s Puja is their Astami’s Bhog spread consisting of gobindo bhog khichuri, vajis, sona moong dal, vegetable torkari, labra, chutney, papad, payesh, sweets and what not. Their traditional bhog offering is one of its kind and is surely a winning thali among all. Different Bonedi Bari have their own speciality of bhog but one thing that remains the same is the sumptuous taste.

Enjoy Dhunuchi Nach

The culture soaked celebration of Durga Puja is incomplete without the tradition of Dhunuchi Nach on the eve of Ashtami. After Durga aarti, men or women decked up in traditional attire dance with the beat of dhak balancing dhunuchi, clay pots filled with burning coconut husks, in hand. The reverberating beats of dhak, the smoke and fragrance of dhuno and the overwhelming dance to the rhythms are a spectacular vision to behold.

Participate in Dashami’s Sindur Khela

On the last day of Durga Puja, before the idol is taken out for the immersion process, married women apply sindoor to Maa Durga’s forehead and feet to seek blessings. The ritual is followed by the tradition of Sindur Khela where women smear sindur on each other’s face and exchange sweets. The immersion process also happens to be a gala affair in Kolkata. You can experience it from Babu Ghat, the most popular immersion ghat in Kolkata.
The revellers bid Goodbye to Maa by chanting ‘asche bochor abar hobe!’