Durga Puja is solemnized as one of the most significant celebrations of West Bengal. This is a ritual which worships and revels over the final moments of Goddess Durga’s victory over the evil, Mahishasura. The pomp and valour across this state, especially in the capital, Kolkata throughout this week-long festivity is unparalleled in the country. Read on to know some of the must-dos in this year’s Durga Puja and end up having 5days of unadulterated fun and enjoyment.
- Pandal Hopping
Pandals can get acutely crowded but if you get daunted by this crowd and fail to go on a pandal-hopping binge, you won’t get the true feel of the Durga Pujas. From the London Olympics to the Egyptian culture, to haunted houses, Thai style pagodas to eco-friendly ones designed out of waste material, each pandal is an ultimate piece of art based on a specific theme. The Puja is spread over 5 days and so you can plan your days to cover different areas of Kolkata. Don’t forget to opt for an all-night pandal hopping spree and you can rent a car for planning a well-organized tour.
- Hit the food route
Bengalis are famous for their love for good food. Many college canteen, after dinner and water cooler conversations hover around good food and arguments on where to find the best kormas, biriyani, rosogollas etc. Durga Puja is more of a 5-day open air food festival. Streets turn into a hodgepodge of food, from baked goods, to home-made fritters to pizzas, kathi rolls, chowmein, cutlets, chops, dosas, idlis and what not! Here are 5 well-known restaurants which serve puja fare.
- 6 Ballygunge Place which is known for its thaalis (Phone No.: 2460 3922)
- Bhojohori Manna which is revered for great fish cutlets and daab chingri (Phone No.: 2466 3941)
- Kasturi, which is a Bangladeshi food place which you should must visit for kochu paata chingri bhaapa (Phone No.: 9748906025)
- Bohemian is known for their tangy twist on Bengali good. Their malpua cheesecake and Gondhoraj soufflé are popular (Phone No.: 66064241)
- ITC Sonar offer tones of British and Raj clubhouses, you can expect steak and kidney pie, prawn cocktails and chicken stroganoff.
- Soak in some Bengali culture
Durga Puja is the time for new album releases and special puja editions with the most choiceable literary works of the year. Even the chief minister goes into the swing of various things like a collection of per poetry released as an album by some local band. Move in to Kolkata to imbibe some first-hand culture. Most pandals have cultural performances once the aarti is over in the evening. The bigger pujas invite celebrities and professionals for their evening shows. You can even get detailed itineraries of some pujas on their Facebook pages and official websites.
- Dress up ethnically and traditionally
When you’re out for Durga Puja, don’t forget to dress up in genuine ethnic wear. Buy a quintessentially white tangail saree with a heavy red border and a typical silk white kurta with elegant and simple embroidery.
- Ritual immersion
Everyday there are series of puja rituals which are performed at the pandals. The morning starts with pushpanjali, chanting hymns and prayers which are offered to the goddess. Bhog is made for the goddess in the afternoon followed by evening rituals of aarti and dhunuchi dance which is a traditional dance in front of the goddess. On Dashami, the last day of the Pujas, married women bid goodbye to the goddess marking the end with sindoor khela.
If you stay somewhere outside Kolkata, make sure you reach the city at least a week before the festival starts so that you don’t even miss the finishing touches of the idols in Kumartuli.