Traveling To Kolkata for Durga Puja

Last Updated on October 29, 2023 by asoulwindow

Durga Puja Kolkata

Traveling To Kolkata for Durga Puja

Durga Puja or Durgotsava is a very popular annual Hindu festival that pays homage to Durga, the Hindu goddess. Hindus identify the goddess, as the ‘destroyer of evil’. She sits gracefully on her mode of transport, which is a lion, and is characterized by her ten arms, each carrying various lethal weapons.

The Puja is an old tradition of Hinduism and its prominence has only increased with time. The festival is popular in certain states of India, such as Assam, Odisha, and particularly Kolkata. No one can ignore the social and cultural importance of Durga puja, which is celebrated with greater devotion and fervor.

About Durga Pooja

According to Hindu scriptures, the festival is celebrated to mark the victory of goddess Maa Durga against Mahishasura, the demon. Durga Pooja, which is also a harvest festival characterizes the victory of good over evil and celebrates the motherly power of the goddess Durga behind the creation. Durga Pujo Kolkata coincides with Dussehra celebrations and is observed in the month of Ashwin in the Hindu calendar.

Potters of Kumartulli making idols for Durga Pooja. Pic by : Pixabay

Why is Durga Pooja World Famous?

 The ten-day festival is world-famous and attracts huge crowds who enjoy the festival and the colorful pandals. It is a festive time for Bengali families who get together for the five days of the festival. They decorate their homes, visit pandals to attend pujas and wear new clothes, and gorge on specially prepared meals and sweets for the festival. What makes the festival even more popular and famous are the performance of arts, scripture recitations, and cultural shows.

 Where does Durga Puja take place?

 Durga Pooja is celebrated not just in India but all across the world. However, it is in Kolkata where one can enjoy an unparalleled religious experience and cultural involvement. This is the reason what makes Durga Puja Kolkata. North Kolkata carries the legacy of idol making and the potters in Kumartuli have been molding the idol of Maa Durga generation after generation. There is so much to see in Kolkata. You can use this guide to 3 days Kolkata itinerary and make the most of your visit.

Right after Puja flight fares generally sky rocket as everyone is heading back to their respective cities. So, it is advisable to check discounts for all metros online and book in advance. For example, Kolkata to Bangalore flight fare deals can easily be availed online if you book in advance and check a few travel aggregators to compare fares.

History of Durga Puja

The origin of Durga Pooja can be traced back to the 15th century, where various Vedic texts as well as the Ramayana and Mahabharata speak of Durga ji worship. Shri Rama worshipped the goddess before his battle with Ravana with 108 sacred lamps and defeated Ravana, the demon King of what is now Sri Lanka. There is plenty of evidence of grand celebrations of Durga Puja Kolkata by West Bengal zamindars in the courtyards of their Havelis.

As per the Hindu scriptures, the festival symbolizes the victory of goddess Durga over Mahishasura and the victory of good over evil as well as the triumph of Rama against Ravana. The festival celebrates the motherly power in the whole of the universe and revers other major deities of Hindusim such as Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth.

Who started Durga Puja?

Durga Puja was started by devotees to celebrate the goddess Durga and with much splendor. The goddess is seen as the protector of the righteous and as per Hinduism, she battles against evil to protect the earth.

She is the Goddess of Power and is a symbol of victory of Goodness over evil. Durga puja has become an important part of Indian culture and people in different parts of the country celebrate the festival in their own unique way.

Durga Puja Kolkata. Pic by : Pixabay


So, what are the other names of Durga Puja? Durga Pooja is also known as simply Puja or Pujo or Navratri among the devotees. In Bangladesh, it is celebrated as Bhagabati Puja. Those different names carry different meanings such as autumnal worship, the awakening of Goddess Maa Durga, grand puja, and so on. It is also referred to by other names and is popularly known as Akalbodhan, Sharadiya pujo, Sharodotsab, Maha pujo, Maayer pujo.

Rituals and practices

Today, the festival is celebrated with fasting and feasts and song, dance, and grand ceremonies at temples. Elaborate decorations and religious recitals are organized at public places and at Hindu temples. The puja is a ceremonial process that is observed post-monsoon harvest.

The city of Kolkata lights up during Durga Pooja and certain rituals are performed at temples and public celebrations. The sculpture idols are prepared by the expert artisans, months before the festival and the process begins with prayers to Ganesha Bhagwan. There is a smell of freshly cooked bhog and the sound of dhak and shankh in every household celebrates.

How to perform Durga Pujo

Durga Pujo Kolkata, which is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals is celebrated with great devotion on those pious days. Devotes perform devotional practices and certain rituals on the ten days of the Puja, starting with Mahalaya. Kumari Puja is performed on the eighth day of Durga Puja and Vijaya Dashami is celebrated on the last day.

Bonedi Barir Parikrama

The lovely tradition Bonedi Barir during Durga Puja Kolkata takes you back to the Bengali Zamindar days when traditional rituals were observed among wealthy households. The custom is still popular in Bengal where people come and pray to the Goddess Durga in the courtyards of the Havelis.

Kumari Pooja

Kumari Pooja is an important part of Durga Pooja as it commemorates the slaughter of Kolasur by the maiden form of goddess Kali. Kumari puja is done to remind society about the value of women and symbolizes the powers of creation, stability, and destruction. Devotees worship the Goddess in her maiden form and to celebrate the symbol of womanhood.

Sindoor Khela

Sindoor Khela means “vermillion game” literally and is the fun part of Durga Pujo Kolkata. Married Bengali women apply sindur on the feet and forehead of the goddess on the last day of the Durga Puja and offer sweets to her. Later they smear the faces of each other with sindur and sing and dance together.

Vijay Dashmi

Vijay Dashmi, also known as Dussehra is a major festival that is celebrated at the end of Durga Puja Kolkata and all across the country. Vijayadashami is observed for different reasons but in Kolkata, it celebrates the victory of the goddess Durga over Mahishasura, the buffalo demon. In other regions of India, Vijay Dashmi celebrates Shri Rama’s victory over the Ravan and the triumph of good over evil.

Main Durga Pandals of Kolkata

During Durga Puja Kolkata, thousands of pandals are set up throughout Kolkata. Millions of Bengalis and tourists attend those pandals, which are a temporary stage with structural decorations. There are about four thousand pandals in Kolkata that are scattered throughout the city and each pandal is based on the central theme of Durga.

The main Durga Pujo pandals in Kolkata are located at Santosh Mitra Square, Bagbazar, Badamtala Ashar Sangha,College Square, Jodhpur Park, Mohammad Ali Park, and Kumartuli. Laborers, architects, and community representatives along with the artisans work together on the sculpture idols. The setting up of the pandal and its decoration are an arts-related economic activity significantly. Major sponsors are involved in the projects that attract crowds of visitors because of the competitiveness among the pandals.

Can we do Durga Puja at home?

Durga Pooja is performed in every home as it is bellied to bring good fortunes and is enormously beneficial. It is very simple and easy to perform the Puja at home. To perform the Pooja, one needs certain items and needs to get up early to perform the rituals.   

After taking bath, one must wear clean clothes to perform the Puja. The prayer room is decorated with fresh flowers and mango leaves, incense sticks, along the picture of Goddess Durga. Gangajal’ is sprinkled in the house and the Akhand Jyoti is lit up. ”Havin” is performed among with chanting of mantras and the idols are taken to the river for immersion on the last day of the puja.

Vegan and Vegetarian Food in Durga Puja

 If you are in Kolkata during the Durga Puja, you must enjoy not just the celebrations and rituals but also the good food. Food is a major part of festivities for Bengalis and some of the  most popular vegetarian dishes you cannot miss during Durga Puja include soft and fluffy luchis with Cholar Dal. Beguni is enjoyed with Khichudi and makes for a wholesome meal at lunch. ‘Ashtami bhog’ is specially prepared and distributed in all most all pandals.

Another simple and traditional recipe is Alloo Poshto which is potato cooked with poppy seeds. You simply cannot miss out on sondesh, a typical Bengali sweet dish.

Durga Pooja in Kolkata. Pic by : Pixabay

Is it safe to attend Durga Puja?

Durga Pujo Kolkata is perfectly safe to attend, provided you take all the precautions and follow the guidelines, especially with the pandemic still very much here. Wear masks and maintain physical distancing inside pandals and keep sanitizing your hands. Visit the pandals during the day and avoid the rush times during late evening and night. If you are still not vaccinated, it is highly recommended to do so.

How to reach Kolkata

As Kolkata is well connected to various cities across the country and globe because of the efficient transport network and flight, rail, and road connectivity, it is easy to reach the city for Durga Pooja.

Kolkata Airport is connected to major international destinations as well as prime Indian cities. Superfast trains connect Kolkata to the major cities of India. and Howrah and Sealdah railway stations are the main railheads here. State or private buses can help local travelers reach the city.

Where to stay in Kolkata

Get ready for Durga Puja Kolkata and all you need to do is visit the city during those auspicious days. But where to stay in the City of Joy? The good news is that Kolkata offers a wide range of accommodations for a comfortable stay and at good locations, as per the preferences and budget of the visitors.

Some of the top locations to explore for luxury or budget hotels include Chowringhee Road, BBD Bagh, Sudder Street, and Ballygunge. You can find top-end hotels as well as budget-priced hotels packed with tourist facilities in these areas dotted with boutiques and resultants.

Best Time to visit Durga Puja in Kolkata?

The best time to visit Durga Puja in Kolkata is when the weather is pleasant and the right time starts from autumn. Kolkata comes alive during Durga Puja and the autumn months from October to March are indeed the best months. Durga Puja is the highlight of these autumn months and makes the city come alive.

How many days to spend in Durga Puja?

The days for Durga Pujo Kolkata are determined based on the lunar calendar. As the Puja is celebrated during the last five days of Navaratri, it is a good idea to spend at least a week here for the Puja. Ideally speaking one should be in the city at least a week before the celebrations to enjoy and experience the Puja to the full.

Soul Window Travel Tips on Durga Pujo

If you are thinking about going to Kolkata for Durga Pooja, you must start planning early. Keep in mind that as there is always a heavy rush in the city, one must make all their bookings in advance. It is a good idea to enroll in a Durga Puja festival tour organized by West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation.

Be aware of the important days during Durga Puja and Dashmi falls on 15the October this year. Visit the most popular and reputed booking platform for your bookings and keep your safety at top priority.

Conclusion: Why visit Kolkata during Durga Pujo?

Kolkata comes alive during Durga Puja and bursts in a rainbow of festivities and cultural practices. Durga Puja Kolkata is celebrated with utmost grandiose and the religious festival uplifts the mood and spirit of the city and its people. As the carnival spirit takes over everyone, the city is truly a sight to behold and experience.

Explore the city and its pedals that showcase the artistic prowess of skilled artisans from around the country. Do not forget to savor and enjoy the exquisite Bengali delicacies that are world-famous. You must visit Kolkata during Durga Puja as this is once in a a lifetime experience!

The view from my Soul Window is spiritually uplifting!

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