Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivals in India. It’s called ” Bangalir srestha utsav” means The Greatest Festival for Bangalis.
And of course what place can be better than Kolkata to get a taste of Durga Puja? Isn’t it?
So as Durga Puja is knocking at the door, here are few things that you must know about Durga Puja in Kolkata.
1. Pujo Pujo Bhaab ( Puja Feels)
When the Kaash Phool ( Kans Grass) starts dancing in the breeze and the pleasant fragrance of Shiuli lingers everywhere, Bengalis call it Pujo Pujo Bhaab, as they know Pujo is just around the corner.
2. Kumortuli is a must
This place is situated in North Kolkata (Shobhabajar) where Durga Idols are made in the narrow lanes. So, the photographers never miss a chance to capture those artistic moments.
3. Puja Shopping
The shopping for Pujo starts way before the festival. The malls and streets start getting crowded from the month of July as people keep looking for exclusive outfits for each day. The trend must be followed.
The city may never miss an opportunity to sleep, but on the day of Mahalaya every Bangali will wake up at 4:00 am sharp and turn on the radio to hear the Recital of Birendra Krishna Bhadra. It’s an alarm for Bangalis that Devi Paksha has begun.
5. Devi Bodhon
When finally Maa Durga ( Durga Idol) arrives in the Pandels and placed with her weapons in her ten hands, the Pandit worships( Devi Bodhon) her on the day of Sasthi. This is believed the spirit of the Goddess has come to life.
6. Pandal Hopping
From the day of Panchami (5th day) the pandal hopping begins. People visit pandal to pandal all night despite the roads being too crowdy.
7. Theme Pujo
Every Pujo Mondop has it’s own themes. The unique materialistic decoration with delicate artworks are worth a visit.
8. Khaoa – Daoa ( Foodies Delight)
What’s Pujo without Food? Bengal is famous for its street foods like Rolls, Fish fry, Kosha mangso and what not! Also, let’s not forget mouth-watering Bengali Cuisine. The various delicacies will make you forget your diet chart.
9. Astamir Anjali
Ashtami morning is all about wearing Saree and Panjabi and going to Puja Mandaps for Anjali, especially with your loved ones.
10. Pujo Romance
Durga Puja is all about hoping to meet The One in Pujo Bheer(crowd). It is like a long valentine’s weekend. Young couples are seen together in every Para ( neighborhood) celebrating their special festivals.
10. Dhaak er Taal ( The beat of Dhaak)
What’s the point of Pujo if there’s no Dhaak playing in the Pandals? There are always a group of energetic Dhaakis in every Mandap and people are shaking their hips on their Baajna. Needless to say, they’re the centre of attraction.
11. Aarti and Dhunuchi Naach
Dhunuchi Naach is an extraordinary dance form with dhunuchi ( earthen pots full of burning coal and coconut husk) held in hands or mouths. While the Pandit performs the Aarti, people continue their Dhunuchi Naach to the rhythm of Dhaak.
12. Bonedi Barir Pujo
Every Para ( neighborhood) may have its own theme but Bonedi Barir Pujo has it’s own rich tradition. In these households, there’s “Thakur Daalan”, a courtyard where the Goddess is placed with old chandeliers and interior decor. There are almost 200 families in Kolkata who have been holding Durga Puja for centuries.
13. Lights Everywhere
There’s no need of Google Map when you have the lights to guide you to the Pandals. Every Pandal has it’s own lighting and it turns Kolkata in a fairy city. The illumination is unimaginable.
14. Pujor Bhog
The Pujo Bhog is served in every Pandal by the community members. The Bhog consists of Hot Khichdi, Labda, Chechra, Luchi, Aloor dom, chutney, sweets, and Curd. Waiting in the queue is mandatory though.
15. Misti ( Sweets)
Bengal is famous for its variety and in sweets. Rosogolla, Sondesh and Misti Doi are must-try. The sugar rush is definitely going to increase.
16. Sindur – Khela
On the day of Dashami, all the women of every neighborhood get together and Boron( ovation) Maa Durga. After the Boron they put Sindur on each other to celebrate with a sense of nostalgia.
And finally, the time arrives when Maa Durga must go back. The idols are carried on the trucks and immerse her into the Ganges. We bid her goodbye with moist eyes saying “Asche Bochor Abar Hobe.” ( Maa will arrive next year again)
18. Shubho Bijoya
After the Thakur Bhasan, Bijoya starts where we touch the feet of our elders to take their blessings and exchange sweets as a part of the festival.
So Durga Puja is just about to take your social media feed on Storm. Take your friends and beloved ones to the Mandap and get ready to click a lot of selfies. What are you waiting for? Tag your friends.