Durga Puja in Kolkata Guide

Fluffy clouds, clear blue skies, and the construction of temporary ‘pandals’ are enough to indicate the arrival of Durga Puja. Bright twinkling lights, fragrant flowers, and colorful drapes adorn the city during these days. A vibrant 5-day festival, Kolkata’s Durga Puja recently received the title of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Jaya Travel is here with a concise guide to help you experience the magic of Durga Puja in the state of West Bengal, India.

Table of Contents

History of Durga Puja

Featured in Durga Puja in Kolkata Guide by Jaya Travel & Tours, this image shows a statue of a Hindu deity.

Durga Puja commemorates the goddess Durga’s victory over the beast demon Mahishasura. Durga had been summoned by the gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva to fight the demon who had set out to destroy the universe, according to folklore. Each of the great Hindu gods offered her weapons and other artifacts to help win the battle. 

Navratri honors the nine days of the war between good and evil. Durga Puja is celebrated on the last five days when Durga leaves her heavenly abode to visit Earth. The five days of this celebration are called Shoshti, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami, and Dashami.

Durga Puja Dates

2023 – October 20th to 24th

2024 – October 9th to 13th

2025 – September 28th to October 2nd

Pandal Hopping

Featured in Durga Puja in Kolkata Guide by Jaya Travel & Tours, this image shows an iphone recording the colorful lights of the celebration.

The “pandal” is a makeshift pavilion and place of worship and the heart of Durga Puja celebrations. Every year, the city gives more than 1,000 permits for pandals in public spaces across Kolkata. These temporary temples are home to clay and bamboo sculptures of the Goddess Durga wrapped in exquisite fabrics. 

Bonedi Bari Puja is a traditional style of Durga Puja celebration. “Bonedi” means “old” or “ancestral,” while “Bari” means “house.” In this context, Bonedi Bari Puja refers to Durga Puja, which is celebrated by aristocratic and wealthy families. These pujas have been going on for generations, some of them for more than 100 years.

Barowari Durga Puja, commonly known as Barowari Puja, is a unique way of celebrating Durga Puja. “Barowari” translates to “belonging to twelve (or more) friends” in Bengali. The community-driven nature of Barowari Durga Puja distinguishes it as a prominent cultural celebration in Bengal.

Tips For Pandal Hopping

While pandal hopping is enjoyable, the heat and crowd can take away from the experience. Follow these tips for a less tiresome and more fun Durga Puja experience.

  1. Plan Your Route: The pandals in Kolkata are spread across the city, it’s important to plan well and have a strategy.
  2. Attire and Footwear: Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes, as well as modest attire.
  3. Travel Light: Carry only the necessities, such as a small backpack with water, snacks, and other supplies. 
  4. Respect Local Customs: Before snapping photos, seek permission and avoid any disruptive behavior that may upset the devotees or the sacredness of the pandals.
  5. Explore Local Cuisine: Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the delicious street food and local cuisine available during Durga Puja. 

Best Pandals in Kolkata

Goddess Durga idol at puja pandal in Kolkata West Bengal India in Jaya Travel & Tours blog "Durga Puja in Kolkata Guide"

Ahiritola Sarbojanin Durgotsav

This prominent Durga Puja organization at Kumartuli Park is on everyone’s pandal hopping itinerary for its classical theme and musical spectacular. Since 1940, it’s drawn hundreds of people from all around the city to watch the creative and colorful framework and sway to the beats of dhak.

The pandal provides classical and western musical and dancing programs, as well as a variety of social activities.

Baghbazar Sarbojanin Durgotsav

Baghbazar Sarbojanin Durgotsav, one of the most renowned and oldest Durga Pujas in north Kolkata, is over a century old, with its traditional idol drawing a large crowd. Every year, the idol is constructed with the precise same design, color, and construction.

They concentrate on refining the ekchala pratima, in which Goddess Durga and her sons and daughters are shown against a single backdrop.

Goddess Durga idol decorated at puja pandal in Kolkata in Jaya Travel & Tours blog "Durga Puja in Kolkata Guide"

Kumartuli Park Puja Pandal

The Kumartuli Park Puja, located near the Sovabazar ferry ghat, is one of the most notable pandals in the area. They’ve been celebrating Durga puja since 1992, and this year marks the 30th year of their celebration. The puja here is a blend of artistry and old-world majesty.

Deities created by Kumartuli artists are also exported for Durga Pujas celebrated overseas.

Santosh Mitra Square Sarbojanin Durgotsav

This Durga Puja pandal, one of the largest and oldest in north Kolkata, was founded in 1936 and is about 80 years old. The organizers develop several themes depending on current events.

In 2017, the pandal captured everyone’s attention with the theme of London. Goddess Durga posed against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace.

Idol of Goddess Devi Durga at a decorated puja pandal in Kolkata West Bengal India in Jaya Travel & Tours blog "Durga Puja in Kolkata Guide"

Sreebhumi Sporting Club

Known for its unique themes, the Sreebhumi Sporting Club celebrated its 50th year last year with its unique ‘Vatican theme.’ This year, a footfall of over thousands have been predicted with the theme of the pandal being ‘Disneyland’. The Goddess will be seen inside the magnificent Disney castle this year.

Ekdalia Evergreen, Gariahat

The Ekdalia Evergreen Durga Puja is one of Kolkata’s renowned and time-honored Durga Puja celebrations. Held annually in the Ekdalia Evergreen Club in South Kolkata, this puja is steeped in tradition and cultural significance.

Every year, the Ekdalia Evergreen Club creates a gigantic, vivid, and creative pandal, which is usually modeled after temples from across the country. The simplicity of Maa Durga’s idol in the pandal adds to the splendor of the already magnificent setting.

in Jaya Travel & Tours blog "Durga Puja in Kolkata Guide"

Mudiali Club, Tollygunge

Mudiali Club is one of the oldest Durga Puja venues in South Kolkata. Though the theme varies from year to year, the traditional idol “Daker Sajji” (white sponge wood ornaments) remains constant. Pandal Lighting is the showstopper of the celebration.

Book Your Kolkata Trip With Jaya Travel!

Remember to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, take in the stunning pandal decorations, and enjoy the cultural performances. Durga Puja is not only a religious festival but also a celebration of art, culture, and community in Kolkata.

Contact Jaya to book your next trip to Kolkata at affordable rates and experience the magic of Durga Puja.

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