Durga Puja – A festive carnival of Kolkata!!!

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Durga Puja – A festive carnival of Kolkata!!!

Durga Puja- Kolkata (5)

Durga Puja also referred to as Durgotsava is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. The first six days are observed as Mahalaya and then Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Vijayadashami. The same period is also known as Navratri. Durga Puja festival marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura and epitomizes the victory of Good over Evil. The festival is widely celebrated in eastern states of India i.e. West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, & Manipur. This is the largest festival of Bengali Hindus and the last five days in the state are declared as official holidays. The Durga Puja has been celebrated since the medieval period and gradually evolved with the passage of time. Now a day’s Durga Puja has broken all the boundaries and has gone far beyond the religion, caste, creed, and culture. While visiting the outstanding and enormous theme based pandals, one can easily state that Durga Puja is the largest outdoor art festival on earth. The music, dance, and art displayed during the Durga Puja played a vital role in connecting the community in Bengal, India and ultimately across the globe. The process of festival starts with highly decorated, life-sized idols of Durga created by potters out of clay. In large open spaces around West Bengal pandals are created to house the idols.  The idols are worshipped for five days and then carried in magnificent procession to a local river for immersion, symbolizing Durga’s reunion with Shiva.

In Kolkata

For long I have been craving to see Durga Puja festival in Kolkata and this time it happened quite dramatically wherein I landed in Kolkata before even realizing it. It took a while to settle my nerves and without wasting a single second started enjoying the festive mood of the city. I landed in Kolkata at around 9:30 p.m., visited my sister’s home to drop the luggage and started hopping the city till dawn. It was an amazing journey with unbelievable experiences all through the night. This is the second time I had visited Kolkata but it’s completely different as compared to what I had seen last time. Here I present my experience with overnight festive journey from the streets of Kolkata:

Numerous pandals were set-up to showcase the creativity and enormity to gain peoples admiration and praise for popularity. It’s amazing to see the precision with which these huge structures were made to portray the theme. The idol at every pandal was also epitomizing the theme as if everything was in sync. After visiting every pandal, a sense of anticipation crept on my mind “what’s next”. The whole city was lit up in various colours making it vibrant and night was alive like I had never seen before. The lighting was also not just bulbs but they also were theme based and some even portraying messages as well, along with some soothing classical music on background to go with the entire set-up was totally mesmerising. People from all over the country were enjoying the festive carnival while hopping from one pandal to another with their family and friends. Traffic had come to a standstill and most people have started traveling by foot in this extravaganza of Durga Puja. Even though traffic came to halt but the spirit of people was intact. The people were tirelessly celebrating every minute of the festival. There were plentiful of mouth watering street foods available everywhere that kept our taste buds also alive along with the night. The people in their traditional attire were complimenting the occasion. It was an amazing experience of walking with people from all spheres of life.

Theme-based pujas and pandals

Pandals and sculptures inspired by a particular theme have been the hallmark of Durga Puja in Kolkata. Puja committees decide on a particular theme which is then incorporated into sculptures and pandals. The themes can be based on history, ancient civilization, current affairs, or can depict a social message as well. The design and decoration is usually done by art and architecture students based in the city. These theme based pandal attract crowds and are well received. It’s also great to know that prizes were given to best pandal, best theme, best artist, and best idol.

From the medieval period up through present day, the Durga Puja celebrates the goddess and victory of good over evil. It brings the humanity together by integrating modernized aspects of entertainment and technology, while still maintaining its tradition. It’s a carnival of five days where the city never sleeps and tirelessly come together to celebrate the festival. Theme based pandal and sculptures displays infiniteness of the creativity and one can imbibe into the sheer magnanimity of the pandals. In short an unmatched and unparalleled carnival and spiritual journey that cannot be missed.

Puja: Deshpriya Park

Puja Theme: The idol of the goddess Durga is 88′ feet tall and has been touted as worlds largest Durga Idol!!


Puja: Barisha Club Durga Puja!!

Puja Type: Sarbojanin (Barowari)

Theme: Theme looked inspired by Indian Dance forms. Clay pots were used beautifully to showcase different dance forms.

Durga Puja- Kolkata (11)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (22)


Durga Puja- Kolkata (18)

Puja: Sarbojanin (Barowari)

Puja Theme: Pandal Theme was inspired by the Eyes of goddess, and was depicting two beautiful decorated eyes!!

Durga Puja- Kolkata (24)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (26)


Puja: buroshibtala durga puja!!

Puja Type: Sarbojanin (Barowari)

Theme : The theme of the pandal as you can see was mainly clay pots along with many other structures made from clay, colorful papers were also used, this pandal looked like a beautiful village.



Durga Puja- Kolkata (92)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (91)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (93)

Puja : Behala Nutan Dal!!

Puja Type: Sarbojanin (Barowari)

Puja Theme: Pandal theme was based on “Samudra Manthan”.

Durga Puja- Kolkata (133)




Durga Puja- Kolkata (139)

Puja: Suruchi Sangha!!

Puja Type: Sarbojanin (Barowari)

Puja Theme: Clay idol is based on the concept of the famous marvel statuette of Dashbhuja Durga – a notable Tamil sculpture. The height of the idol is 9 feet. Pandal also showcased the Tamil tradition, culture and their creativity.

Durga Puja- Kolkata (76)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (75)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (71)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (70)

Puja Type : Sarbojanin (Barowari)

Puja Theme : This pandal has created a village which was colourful and beautiful.

Durga Puja- Kolkata (38)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (43)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (41)

Puja : Kidderpore 25 pally!!

Puja Theme: Pandal theme was inspired by sewing machine and related stuffs like thread, scissors, buttons, cloth pieces etc..



Durga Puja- Kolkata (59)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (56)

Puja : Udyan Pally!!

Puja Type : Sarbojanin (Barowari)

Puja Theme : Extremely realistic mud idols of dancing forms to the epic structure of the pandal. From the lovely vibrant hues to the grandeur of ambience. Beautiful form to the intricate work with ‘kaanch-er churi.

Durga Puja- Kolkata (47)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (52)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (44)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (51)

Puja Theme: Beautiful use of bamboos. Mostly arrows like sticks were used for the finishing.

Durga Puja- Kolkata (117)


Durga Puja- Kolkata (118)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (116)

Puja Theme: The pandal decoration and idols reminded me “Jagannath Puri” where various hand made items were depicted related to their tradition. The deities were also created to epitomize the theme and the prominent colour was red.

Durga Puja- Kolkata (123)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (127)



PUJA THEME : Beautiful grand goddess idol.

Durga Puja- Kolkata (67)

PUJA THEME : Pandal looked like a tiny village made by the extensive use of bamboo.


Durga Puja- Kolkata (121)

PUJA THEME : A small village with a backdrop of hills was created with upward steps and cave like entry and then deep down to reach the Grand Idol of Ma Durga.

Durga Puja- Kolkata (130)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (131)

Durga Puja- Kolkata (128)


Durga Puja- Kolkata (29)

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10 Responses

  1. madhukar mahindrakar

    Interesting article. Came to know lot of things which I was not aware. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful experience.

  2. Nice article.. and brilliant pictures.. !

  3. Amazing creations! You are so lucky to have visited all these! Stunning pictures!
    In Bangalore there are hardly any themed pujo. This year I could see just 2 theme.

    • Yes Indrani, the theme based Puja was amazing and one must experience the same in Kolkata.

  4. Amazing post and I am impressed by the theme based pandals.

  5. that looks great 🙂

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