Durga Puja is not just a religious festivity, it’s the time for all to indulge in jollification as they gather with their near and dear ones. It’s all about inclusion – for anyone and everyone. It’s a five day carnival of more than just devotion, it’s aloo posto and chingri malai curry – the variety of food available is mind-boggling, it’s live music sessions and lucky draws, it’s art and imagination – the temporary structures housing the goddess are artistic marvels.
Every life-size pandal is unique, every year they compete to outdo each other. While you’ll find the most well known ones in north and south Kolkata, here are the most popular ones in your city. The only strategic planning you have to worry about is working out your visit at night, when every pandal is lit up like a night sky, or if you want to avoid the apparent chaos make a visit during the day.
Note: Images are for representative purposes only.
The Durga Puja rituals here have remained unchanged since 1936. Commemorated in the most traditional way, if you’re heading here, put on your best sari, get set to immerse in the most authentic Pujo experience and, of course, to take part in Rabindra Sangeet and poetry recitation competitions.
This locality in the capital city is fondly known as mini-Kolkata, so one can imagine how grand the celebrations must be. Every year hundreds and thousands of devotees and visitors make their way to CR Park to witness something that’s unlike the past year. Reportedly, Chittaranjan Park’s Cooperative Ground Durga Puja Samity has pronounced an eco-friendly idol this year, to save the Yamuna River. Moreover, they have created an artificial pond where the idol shall be immersed.
One of the oldest in Delhi, this Pujo pandal was set up in 1910. This year’s interiors are designed like the Jorasanko neighbourhood of Kolkata, where the ancestral house of Rabindranath Tagore is. To the delight of many, it also has clones of the author’s books and sculptures within it.
Arambagh Durga Puja
A must-visit, it’s one of the most spectacular pandals. Back in 2013 it rose to fame for their estimated budget ranging between Rs. 75 lakhs to Rs. 1 crore, and featured a monumental 20 feet high, 26 feet wide idol of the goddess.
Matri Mandir, Safdarjung Enclave
Safdarjung Enclave celebrations are too being orchestrated in an eco-friendly manner. If you’ve been an avid pandal hopper you know every pandal is as unique as the other, both in creation and the withheld theme, talking about this year’s Puja pandal, an organiser was quoted saying, “This is our 53rd year of Matri Mandir Durga Puja. We have taken the ‘Thakurwadi theme’ which is related to how the house of Rabindranath Tagore was kept. As you know, we are discussing reducing pollution, so we are using betel leaf plates and glasses made of paper. These are biodegradable.”
The most special thing about this one is that every year they clone a famous Indian temple as their pandal, and invite Kolkata’s most masterful karigars to skeleton the idol.