Durga Puja is an extravagant affair in Kolkata which is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm and zeal. This is the time when Kolkata brightens up with lively colors and becomes the perfect destination to travel to.
During this time, the city takes you to people wearing traditional clothes, lively bazaars along with more than a thousand colourful Pandals, revealing various forms of Goddess Durga.
Every year, these pandals compete to outdo each other with their themes and decorations. Here we present you with a few of the best Durga Puja Pandals, with the most elaborate and innovative themes, in Kolkata.
Let’s start with one of the oldest Puja pandals in Kolkata. The pandal is relatively simple with emphasis on tradition and culture. However, because of its beautiful idol of Goddess Durga, it has always attracted attention. Exhibitions are held on its grounds, with carnival rides and stalls.
The sindoor khela ritual on Dashami (the last day of the festival), whereby married women place red sindoor (powder) on the idol before it’s taken for immersion, is also renowned.
Location: North Kolkata, along the river in Bagbazaar, Near the Bagbazar Launch Ghat and Bagbazar Kolkata Circular Railway Station.
Santosh Mitra Square
Originally founded in the year 1936 as “Sealdah Sarbojanin Durgotsav”, it was renamed as Santosh Mitra Square in the year 1996. This pandal has been hosting Durga Puja for more than 80 years now and is one of the top Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata. In 2017, this pandal rose to fame for choosing the London theme. The entire pandal was decorated to look like Buckingham Palace. Following the trend of unique themes, last year the pandal housed a chariot made of 10 tonnes of silver. The height of the pandal was around 60 feet and the saree worn by Goddess Durga weighed roughly 30kg of gold.
Location: Central Kolkata, Bow Bazaar area off Ganguly street.
Formed in 1995, Kumartuli Park is a relatively young pandal but has risen to popularity because of its location, as it takes place in the area where most of the Durga Maa idols are handcrafted by clay modelers. The idols made by these clay modelers are also exported to the US, UK, Canada, and some Southeast Asian countries for the Durga Puja festival. Kumartali Durgastab is known for displaying the grandeur of Durga Maa in the most amazing way. This pandal is known for its fusion art themes and out-of-the-box ideas. Last year, the theme chosen was Lord Krishna playing his flute for humanity.
Location: Along the river at Kumartali Park, close to Sovabazar Launch Ghat, North Kolkata.
Established in the year 1948, College Square Sarbojanin Durgotsav has been around for more than 50years and has the most picturesque setting for hosting Durga Puja in Kolkata. College Square sits on the banks of a lake which, during Durgotsav, is festooned with lights making the place surreal. The crowd flock to this pandal to see the beautiful lighting and the reflection in the lake.
Location: Central Kolkata, Near Kolkata University, off Mahatma Gandhi Road.
Badamtala Ashar Sangha
One of the popular areas to get the blessings of Goddess Durga, Badamtala Ashar Sangha has more than 75 years of celebrating Durga Puja with great enthusiasm and fervour. The pandal, from humble beginnings, grew to win an award for creative excellence in the year 2010 by Asian Paints. Badamtala Ashar Sangha was one of the first pandals to experiment with creative ideas for themes during Durgotsav in the year 1999. Last year, the theme was dedicated to women’s empowerment ad feminism. The idol of Maa Durga has no weapons, portraying the message of non-violence.
Location: South Kolkata. Nepal Bhattacharjee Street, Kalighat. Right near the Kalighat Metro railway station
If you want to catch a good glimpse of these idols and the magnificence of the Pandal, I suggest you plan your travel before. Book your flight now to Kolkata and have an unforgettable experience around the festivities.