The celebration of Durga Puja in Kolkata can be traced back to the 1700s, when the zamindars displayed their power, wealth and influence by making it pompous and the grandeur continues to remain the same even today. The festival is the most important celebration of the Bengali people, as Goddess Durga is held in high regard as the form of Shakti (power). The common belief is that Goddess Durga in the form of a warrior defeated the mighty demon Mahishasura, hence the festival epitomises the victory of good over evil.
Durga Puja celebrations are usually performed in the month of September and October. In 2019, the festival will be observed from October 4th to October 14th.
The idols of Goddess Durga are created from clay on the banks of the sacred river Ganges, which flows just beside the potters’ colony. The ordinary clay is shaped to such perfection as if the form is filled with divinity, grace and beauty. The eyes of the Goddess are created on a new moon day, when a priest chants ‘mantras’ and meditates, as the form of Durga is invoked into the idol. The festivities are a sight to behold, and the city comes alive with colour and friendly chatter! Families get together to visit multiple pavilions, offering their worship to the towering and all-encompassing idols of the Goddess; they are decorated with special themes, with a huge display of local handicrafts, it is a photographer’s paradise! A guided tour into this artful chaos will reveal itself into little nooks which offer local Bengali delicacies. After the over-indulgence, we suggest a bottle of ice-cream soda by Bijoligrill to cool it off and sleep like a baby!
‘Pujo’ as is referred to by the locals is a true slow travel experience, and when it is over, you will find yourself coming back to this part of the world every year.
Featured Image Credit: Ananya Das via Calcutta Instagrammers