The Ultimate Guide on Navratri Celebrations in Kolkata
With months of planning ahead, Durga Puja or Durgotsav in Kolkata is perhaps one of the most looked forward to events by not just the locals, but the entire nation. Sculpting of the extremely intricate, awe-inspiring idol of Goddess Durga slaying the evil Mahishasura starts months before at the beautiful Kumartuli. So does the groundwork of pandals exhibiting exuberance in thoughtfully put together bamboo décor. You might be enlightened to know that there are days that hold special significance in actually creating parts of the idol like the Chokkhu Daan, when Durga’s eyes are painted on the idol. Indeed, Kolkata has its own list of days associated with this larger than life festival!
Image Source: Flickr.com
Needless to say, this is the largest festival of the year, eagerly awaited by the Bengali Hindus. But unlike most of India, Navratri celebrations in Kolkata are a little more special. Commencing on the sixth day of Navratri- Sashti, the festivities go on till the tenth day, celebrated as Vijaydashmi that marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil.
Amidst a jamboree of passionate revellers, nights that don’t seem to have a dawn, glorious rituals and an array of delicacies to indulge in, are the flamboyant pandals without which the whole experience of the festival would be unthinkable! And so, we bring to this list of the best places to witness Navratri celebrations in Kolkata. You’ll be surprised to know that there are plenty of garba and dandiya events in Kolkata too. Take a cue from these venues to make the most of this longest Hindu festival!
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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Best Puja Pandals in Kolkata
With almost 100 years in existence, the Bagbazaar pandal is one of the oldest puja pandals in Kolkata. This is where you can witness puja in its most authentic form minus all the jazz.
Address: Baghbazar St, Baghbazar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700003
What can be a more spiritual setting of a Durga puja pandal with a lake in its background?! The evenings are no less than any magic, with the glitterati of the festival reflecting like sparkle in the lake’s waters!
Address: 13, Surya Sen St, Bowbazar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700012
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Celebrate the idol where it has been created! The Kumartali Park in North Kolkata is an area renowned for the activities of idol sculpting and decoration.
Address: Abhay Mitra St, Sovabazar, Kumartuli, Shobhabazar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700005
Mohammad Ali Park
With a one of its kind idol, the Mohammad Ali Park has been drawing crowds since its inception in the year 1969. The idol of Goddess Durga here is everything ethereal stands for!
Address: Chittaranjan Ave, Calcutta University, College Square, Kolkata, West Bengal 700073
Bosepukur Sitala Mandir
Accoladed with several titles for displaying some of the most eclectic designs, depicting rural Bengal, the Bosepukur Sitala Mandir has got to be on your list of pandal hopping in Kolkata!
Address: 39/1/1 Bosepukur Road,Kasba, Kolkata, West Bengal 700042
This one holds the speciality for replicating pandal designs of popular temples across the country. Other than the structure of the pandal, the walls are a highlight of this pandal.
Address: 15, Ekdalia Rd, Ekdalia, Ballygunge, Kolkata, West Bengal 700019
Badamtala Ashar Sangha
If you plan to go pandal hopping specifically to see its themed decorations, the Badamtala Ashar Sangha is a must! It has been a popular venue since the last seventy-six years and has won several awards along the way!
Address: 5, Rash Behari Ave, Anami Sangha, Kalighat, Kolkata, West Bengal 700026
While Ekdalia Evergreen is known for its temple replicas, the Suruchi Sangha is looked forward to for its décor that illustrates various aspects of a state from India. The exquisite craftsmanship evident in this pandal has won a few awards over the years.
Address: 500 and 505, Block - M, New Alipore, Kolkata, West Bengal 700053
Known for its quirky themes, like creating the idol out of biodegradable materials using a 3D printer. The Jodhpur Park is keenly visited by revellers.
Address: 1/D, JodhPur Park, Kolkata, West Bengal 700068
Santosh Mitra Square
Located in Bowbazar within the proximity of the College square pandal, the Santosh Mitra Square is another famous avenue for pandal hopping in Calcutta.
Address: Lebutala, Bowbazar, Kolkata, West Bengal 700014
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Best Garba and Dandiya Events in Kolkata 2017
While these are just some of the many pandals, Durga Puja festivities are evident in almost every household of the city. There is an unmissable cheery spirit in the city that you are certain to catch! This spirit is not just confined by the Durgotsav, it extends to many garba and dandiya raas events in Kolkata too! You can sway to the sounds of clinking of dandiya sticks at the following places, that hold various events every year-
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Raas Dandiya Utsav 2017
When: Thursday, September 28th, 2017 at 6:00 pm
Where: Ojas Banquets, 86a, Tosia Road, Calcutta, India
The Park Hotel
Where: 17, Park Street, Kolkata, West Bengal 700016
The Agri Horticultural Society of India’s Hall
Where: 1 Alipore Road, Alipore, Kolkata, West Bengal 700027
Where: Raikva, On EM Bypass, Beside Brand Factory, 3A, Ram Mohan Mullick Garden Ln, Beleghata, Kolkata, West Bengal 700010
Swabhumi The Heritage
Where: 89C, Narkeldanga Main Rd, Kadapara, Phool Bagan, Kankurgachi, Kolkata, West Bengal 700054
Where: Mani Square Road 5th Floor E. M. Bypass, 164, Maniktala Main Rd, Sector 1, Kolkata, West Bengal 700054
Where: IB 177 & 178, Down Town Mall, AB Rd, Bidhannagar, Broadway Rd, IB Block, Sector III, Salt Lake City, Kolkata, West Bengal 700091
To make it a fun night out, you can consider visiting a pandal after all this ‘halo halo’! Dotted with stalls serving the most delicious food ever, these pandals beckon a gastronomical adventure. You can never run out of options when it comes to “what to eat at a Durga Puja in Kolkata”! Ditch that calorie counter and concede yourself to the following delicacies-
Image Source: Wikipedia
- Kathi Rolls
- Kolkata Biryani
- Mishti Pulao
- Luchi and Mangsho
And lastly, if you wish to blend in with the beautiful crowd, exalting to the chants of “Dugga Dugga” take a cue from the following on how to dress for Durga Puja.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
- Line those eyes! Whether you possess the characteristic almond-shaped eyes or not, put on some winged eyeliner.
- Get yourself a Tip, Tip meaning the stunning, vermillion-coloured bindi. Don’t shy away from a big size; the bigger, the better!
- Don the classic white and red tant saree, obviously with a puff-sleeved blouse.
- The guys can just out on a silk, embroidered kurta and they are good to go!
Finally, bid adieu to the magnificent festival by witnessing the visarjan, a grand event in itself and be blessed all through the year!
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