Sunday, October 2, 2011

Durga Puja in Kolkata

The drum beats grew louder and the air was filled with the blowing of conch shells and music. There was an air of festivity and revelry all round. The crowds were getting bigger and one had to literally rub the shoulder of person walking adjacent. We were approaching the Muhammad Ali Park Durga Puja at Kolkata. Although, it was a hot afternoon, but to the swarming crowds it made no difference. There was a massive painting of ‘ Mona Lisa’ the theme at the venue and I almost felt that I was standing at Louvere  in Paris looking at the smile, casting its magic spell. We were indulging in the ‘ Pandal Hopping” like any other Bengali does at this time of the year.  Our next destination was the College Square where too the rush was unbelievable! The Durga Puja is an event to be experienced to get the pulse and cannot be described, as it happens in Kolkata.

There are more than a thousand organized pujas where idols of Goddess Durga mounted on a lion, slaying the demon Mahishasur are depicted.

I had landed the previous evening and the city was decked up like a bride! There were ‘ Jatras’ en route, beautifully decorated pandals with glittering neon lights giving an appearance as if the stars had descended from the sky straight to the earth! Cutting across the lines, people were participating in the gaiety with a gay abandon and religious fervor, dressed in the best new clothes and jewelery.  It was the ‘Maha shasti’ or the sixth day when most of the idols are installed. I reached my daughter’s place at Middleton Road which is just a stone’s throw from the Park Street. It appeared as if the whole city had come there for a congregation! Every restaurant was packed and most of them had long queues of people waiting for their turn. It was exhilarating!
Later at night we went to see some of the puja pandals and walked almost six kilometers to Ballyganj and Desho Priya Park . There were food stalls  where people were gorging Egg Rolls, Fried Fish, Aloo Dum and Luchi, ‘Chachadi’, the mouth watering ‘rosogollas ‘, ‘sandesh’ and ‘mishti dohi’.
Next day, we went around the New Market , Esplanade and Gariya. People were buying ornaments as if they were purchasing vegetables from a bargain store! The town was painted red wherever we went.

The best part is that the crackers are banned so the city was spared further addition of decibels and pollution by a few notches. The sweet rhythm of the Rabindra Sangeet, and lilting tunes fill the air leaving a hypnotic effect !

I have seen so many festivals celebrated in many places but Kolkata at Durga Puja time stands head and shoulders above most of them!


  1. I have never been to Calcutta but I'm sure it's a wonderful experience.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog!Kolkata at Durga Puja is just amazing and not to be missed!