Have you been planning of visiting Kolkata, but do not know when to? Your wait ends here as this is the time you should be there. At the time of Durga Pujo, Kolkata is decorated beautifully and the entire city is doused in the festivities. From months before the festival, planning and preparations begin for the different pandals and themes of the pandals as well as the food and other activities.
The streets of Kolkata during Durga Puja are captivated with happy faces, with awe-inspiring decor such as lights and the gigantic pandals that have gorgeous idols of Goddess Durga. Be it any part of Kolkata in which you are, the same level of excitement can be seen as in the other parts.
Durga Pujo this year has started on September 29th and the idols of Goddess Durga will be immersed in the rivers on October 7th. You can usually find people pandal hopping all night which is the main charm of visiting Kolkata during this time.
However, there are other things to do in the city than just pandal hopping during Durga Puja.
Bonedi Bari Puja
This is a traditional Bengali puja that takes place in the old palatial mansions of the city. These mansions are owned by the elite landlords and their families who have been continuing the year-old traditions. Two of the most popular ones to visit include Sovabazar Raj Bari and Rani Rashmoni Bari situated in North Kolkata.
Rural Durga Puja
Everyone knows about the Durga Puja in the urban areas of Kolkata, but does anyone know how this puja is celebrated in rural areas? Apart from the festive spirit, the rush and traffic in the city could actually get you to these areas where you can enjoy the festival in simplicity.
Dhunuchi dance and competitions
Durga Puja is incomplete without the traditional festive folk dance or Kolkata in which the performers dance to the beats of the traditional Dhak music and the sound of the Kansor. Dhunuchis are clay pots with incense that is lit with their own hands. This dance is performed as competitions and may performers display their best dance skills during them. Besides the dance, there are also other competitions in which ladies, men and kids, all can take part.
Gorge on authentic Bengali food
This is the ideal time to enjoy authentic Bengali food that is served on a banana leaf. At any restaurant, typical puja delicacies are cooked and served. The meal usually consists of Sabjir Grontho, Bhetki Nawabi Ghonto, Chingrir Murgi, Dhaka Murgir Roast, and lots more.
On Ashtami afternoon, everyone gathers at the vibrant tents made outside the local puja pandals to enjoy the bhog (blessed meal). Two main dishes – a spicy khichdi and rice kheer or payesh are served to everyone on this day. The food is served by some volunteers in sal-leaf plates in batches. In the plates, there are brinjal fritters, khichudi, a curry made of mixed vegetables followed by the payesh.