Durga Puja in Bengal – A once in a lifetime experience !

What Christmas is to the world, the hundreds of Indian festivals are to India ! Not even one loses it significance because of the presence of so many others. Each one is celebrated with great pomp and show and one lifetime is not enough to know and see them all. 

I am proud and blessed for being able to call Calcutta as my home. This city which was also the capital of India during the British rule, is rich in European architecture and few of the heritage buildings bring a sense of pride to us. Calcutta is beautiful, people are warm and if you can coincide your stay with the very popular ‘Durga Pujo’ festival than nothing like it. 

Durga puja is a festival that signifies the victory of good over evil. It marks the battle of mighty Goddess Durga with the powerful buffalo-demon Mahishasura. According to Hindu mythology, Mahisa, a demon, was born out of a union between a demon and a buffalo, hence the name Mahisa (buffalo) Asura (demon). He wanted to be an invincible and immortal demon, hence he prayed and prayed for years until the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma, granted him a boon that no man can ever kill him. If he is to die, it will only be in the hands of a woman. Using his immortal powers, Mahisasura started harming gods and human beings. He created a havoc on Earth and heavens using his army of demons until Gods came together and created a divine lady, Durga, with ten arms, each of them carrying a weapon. She mounted on a lion and fought with Mahisasura by finally killing him with her sword.

 

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Mudiali Pandal showing Goddess Durga killing Mahishasura.

 

It is once again this time of the year when the city of joy lives by its name. During this ten days festival beginning from Mahalaya, the city never sleeps. Each and every corner of the streets are beautifully illuminated and pandals which houses the idols of the deity are imaginatively decorated. Millions and millions of money is spent on conceptualisation, raw materials, idol, jewelries, lightings and designers etc to build each pandal. City enthusiasts hop on to every pandal in their vicinity and beyond. Traffic on the roads and crowded pandals only enhances the beauty of the festival. 

 

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Tridhara park Pandal. Made out of empty phone boxes.

 

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Creativity at its best. Grand structure made out of bells.

 

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NewYork in Calcutta. Made out of cardboards.

 

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Replica of Wat Rong Khun temple in Thailand

 

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Suruchi Sangha Pandal with Gautam Buddha theme.

 

Finally, after ten days of fun and frolic, the idols are paraded through Red Road before immersion. Its a beautiful sight and people get emotional when they see the goddess leaving for her abode on Mount Kailash. Calcutta is considered her home and its believed that she comes every year for ten days to her parents home and we Calcuttans welcome her by celebrating these ten days as Durga puja.

Fun facts :

  • All these life size stunning structures are temporary.
  • They are only made out of bamboos, rope, papier mache and thermocols.
  • Farmers and artisans who build these structures have no formal training.
  • Over 3000 pandals are built in the city of Kolkata alone.
  • Though Durga puja is celebrated all over India, it is much different in Bengal. You must experience it to believe it.

 

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Have you ever experienced Durga Puja in Calcutta or abroad ? I would love to hear your thoughts on this festival, please leave them as comments.

 

 

33 Comments Add yours

  1. swikritiblogdot says:

    I have heard about durga puja in bengal but you have explained it very beautifully. I loved reading your blog and i must say once in lifetime i should visit attend durga puja.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moimehr says:

      Thanks ! You must !

      Like

  2. I have never got a chance to attend Durga puja in kolkatta but I can see it would be such a great experience to see all of that divine presence around .great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moimehr says:

      Absolutely, it will be !

      Like

  3. thetripwishlist says:

    I’ve never experienced this, but it looks so festive. Thanks for introducing me to something new!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moimehr says:

      Pleasure is mine.

      Like

  4. brokelings says:

    This looks absolutely stunning. Is there a specific day you recommend during the Pujo time which is the best?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moimehr says:

      In Bengal, all the 10 days have the same festive energy.

      Like

  5. Ajay Arora says:

    I’ve only seen and heard so far. Will sure want to be in Bengal to experience this.

    Like

  6. godigodesa says:

    What amazing photos! It looks like magic 🙂 The Hindu mythology is so colourful, it is interesting to hear some of the stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moimehr says:

      Am glad you liked the story. My parents tell me a lot like these from our holy books.

      Like

  7. whodoido says:

    To experience Durga Puja must be incredible. The structures are truly amazing – all life size too! I love the structure built out of thousands of bells!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moimehr says:

      Yes they are indeed. They are all so photo worthy, you wont stop clicking.

      Like

  8. Alexander Popkov says:

    Amazing colors and performance. Wish I could travel there to see. Do you know is it is allowed to you a pro camera there?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moimehr says:

      Yes of course you can. Infact they appreciate it. You must come some day to India and be our guest.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alexander Popkov says:

        Would be happy to! Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Travelquartz says:

    So nice to read this post just when I wrote a blog on pandal hopping I did at CR Park recently .. check at my website . the pandal in kolkata are next level hope to see them someday ..wow !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moimehr says:

      Oh ! That’s great. Will surely read it on a no school day. I am glad you have experienced a bit of it.

      Like

  10. Ali Dunnell says:

    I really enjoyed reading this and enjoying a taste of Bengal culture. Your photographs are wonderful, so colourful and bright 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Joanna says:

    What an amazing festival! I love how colorful it is and that people put a lot of their creativity into designing those giant structures. It looks like a lot of fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I hadn’t heard of that festival but oh, my world, the beauty of it, the colours, the refinement!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Emma says:

    Great post. Definitely a city to visit in the future for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. wanderlustvlog says:

    Such an interesting article! All those festivals in India, they all are so appealing… Ans what amazing pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. gastrotravelogue says:

    Indian festivals are amazing and always so colourful. I have never heard of Durga puja. It is amazing that they build over 3000 pandals. It must be awesome to be part of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. annakapys says:

    I love all the festivals in India – they are so beautiful and the history behind each of them so meaningful – is it then the best time to visit India? I think I would like to visit during Diwali as the lights are just beautiful. I think here in the UK Holi and Diwali are the most famous ones!

    My boyfriend is really interested in Indian mythology since he came back from Sri Lanka. It’s nice to get a bit more of it from your blog. Thank you!

    I have to say that the design of your blog is really nice – I will be visiting more often!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks for broadening my very limited knowledge about Durga Puja in spite of having many Bengali friends. Photos are beautiful and so it all the information.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. broganab says:

    Wow! What a fantastic festival! So full of colour! I absolutely love Indian festivals!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. dwyeraddie says:

    These pictures and the colors in the pictures are absolutely amazing. I have just added ‘attending an festival in India’ to my bucket list. I’m not sure what the other festivals represent, but I like that the theme of this one is good over evil. I could get behind celebrating that any day!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow that looks like such an amazing experience. I would love to see all those beautiful colors and lights in real life someday. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. i never been in bengal, I’ve never experienced this, but seen durga pooja in some of the films. Thanks for introducing me to something new! we will try to visit kolkata during durga puja, kudos to article.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. bye:myself says:

    I haven’t been to India….yet, but it’s on my list (isn’t it on everybody’s list?!) and Calcutta resp Purga Duja would definitely be a place to visit. It’s amazing how many celebrations there are and I can imagine how impressive and powerful it must be to join.
    From your beautiful pictures I like the structure made out of bells best – so beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ridima says:

    I have never been to Kolkata and always see these pandals on social media and so I really wanna be there once during Durga Puja. Thanks for putting this altogether and inspiring me.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Shaily says:

    What a grand celebration of Durga Puja in Kolkata! The pandals look so vibrant and beautiful – replica of Thai temple, New York in Kolkata, such a grand structure made of bells -Wow!! This is creativity at its best! Your lovely pictures of the festival has compelled me to add this experience to my bucket list. Thanks for sharing this lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

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