As Durga Puja 2020 fever catches up in the country, Ayandrali Dutta—a journalist by profession and a wanderess by passion—shares an exclusive guest piece on traditional family Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata. Tea junkie, gypsy feet, an amateur cook and a perpetual bhukkad, Ayandrali pens her travel accounts on her blog Scattered Expressions. The blog on Durga Puja at Kolkata gives a peek into the madness contained in a vagabond’s mind, along with her travel inspirations, frustrations, struggles, happiness and more.
Slowly soaking in the Pujo mood, she takes TravelTriangle readers on a virtual journey through the lanes of Kolkata, offering a glimpse of 5 larger than life traditional family celebrations—the best places to witness the grandeur of Durga Puja in Kolkata 2020.
Important Days During Durga Puja
Chokkhu Daan – The rituals of Durga Puja starts with crafting the idol of the Goddess weeks before the Navratri starts except the eyes. On the occasion of Mahalaya, the goddess is worshipped and invited on the earth. Alongside that the eyes are also painted on this day which is also called “Chokkhu Dan”.
Grand Procession – This takes place on the 6th day of Navratri, when the goddess is welcomed with much vigour and celebration. With the beautifully decorated idol of the goddess and the idols of Ganesh. Kartikeya, Lakshmi and Saraswati, the grand procession enters the beautifully decorated pandals and houses where the durga puja is hosted.
Kola Bou Bath – This is the ritual where the presence of goddess is invoked in the idol. This happens on the seventh day of the puja in the early morning. A small banana plant is decorated with a saree and given a bath before taking it to the procession. Alongside that there ritual and prayers which brims the entire surrounding.
Dashami – Dashami marks the 10th day of Durga Puja which is also believed to be said Vijayadashami. A large number of devotees gather around the procession and offer their prayers while accompanying to the ghat. On the ghat, the idol of the goddess along with other idols are immersed in the water.
5 Oldest Celebrations Of Durga Puja In Kolkata
It’s that time of the year when Kolkata is in its full glory. The city is decorated no less than a bride and everyone is awaiting the homecoming of Maa. Durga Puja in Kolkata has always been a larger than life affair. If you are planning to spend this festive season of Durga Puja in Kolkata, you’ll witness a whole lot of action happening at the puja pandals; but one simply cannot miss the star attraction – the traditional pujas that are still carried on in full glory in few households.
Some families have held on to the cultural heritage by performing Durga Puja festival in 2020 with much dedication maintaining all the rituals. It’s a big affair for each household and just like enthusiastic pandal hoppers, many make it an agenda to visit these traditional pujas which are a grand reflection of the cultural heritage of the city.
- Sovabazar Raj Barir Puja
- Rani Rashmoni Durga Puja
- Harinath Mookerjee Family’s Durga Puja
- Bholanath Mallick Barir Puja
- Chatu Babu Latu Babu Family’s Durga Puja
1. Sovabazar Raj Barir Puja
More than 250 years old, the Sovabazar Raj Barir Puja was started by Raja Nabakrishna Deb. Back in 1757 when the Durga Puja at Kolkata was started, even the Britishes used to come to adorn the whole ceremony. Till date, its complete pomp and show remains the same, and the puja is still celebrated with extreme enthusiasm. The specialty of this traditional family puja is that they observe the “Mithaai Bhog” which comprises sweets placed in a ‘big thal’ (radius 3.5 feet) and offering them to Durga Maa. Mithaiwalas come all the way from Odisha bringing lip-smacking sweets for this customary offering.
In the whole cheer of this family celebration of Durga Puja in Kolkata, there is a lot that will catch your attention. The beautifully decorated Thakur dalan (courtyard), and the painted backdrop behind the Durga idol, which depicts the story of Devi and her incarnations, are simply stunning. Also, the Ved path is an important part of the puja.
The ancient rituals of Durga Puja at Kolkata have been kept intact and followed with much dedication. Till date these house pujas see a number of devotees coming and being a part of the celebration from different parts of the city.
Address: 36 and 33, Raja Nabakrishna Street, Sovabazar (Near Sovabazar Metro Station)
2. Rani Rashmoni Durga Puja
Those familiar with the Dakshineswar Kali Temple will not have much trouble in knowing Rani Rashmoni. She was the one who started Durga puja at her house at S.N. Banerjee Road, and since then the puja has been carried on with the same enthusiasm. Though there are two pujas that are held at the S.N. Banerjee Road, at Rani Rashmoni’s residence the celebration happens like one big family.
During the hay days of the puja the house saw cultural functions like Jatra and Kabigaan where artists came from all across Bengal. If you happen to visit the house during the festive time the sound of chants and Durga jaap will transport you to a different world.
Every year, the family opens their door for one and all, and everyone who comes can have the bhog (traditional prasad) during the Durga Puja 2020 celebration in Kolkata. Their idol is done by Shri. Laalu Chitrakar and his brother Shri. Dulal Chitrakar. Currently the Hazra family are the ones who are doing the puja.
The entry to this grand Kolkata Durga Puja celebration is through the Free School Street.
Address: 13 Rani Rashmoni Road, 18/3 S.N. Banerjee Road and 18 Rani Rashmoni Road
3. Harinath Mookerjee Family’s Durga Puja
Started in 1720 by Harinath Mookerjee this Durga Puja in Kolkata 2020 stands close to its 300th year. The family celebration is a result of a dream that his grandfather had, and since then female shakti worship has also been a part of their traditions. The current day Thakur dalan is a symbol of their prosperity that the family has seen over the years. This Bonedi Barir Durga Puja of Kolkata thakur dalan sees multicolor paintings with figures and floral motifs. Even the ceiling fans are from a bygone era. Keeping all the rituals in place Durga Puja 2020 festival is the time for a family reunion in the Mookerjee Bari.
Giving a glimpse of the rich cultural heritage, the Mookerjee Bari puja is much of a crowd puller, and certainly the perfect pick for you to experience the grandeur of Kolkata Durga Puja.
Address: 4, Kalidas Singha Lane Kolkata – 700009 (Behind Rajabazar Science College)
4. Bholanath Mallick Barir Puja
Amongst all the fun and frolic the Kolkata Durga Puja hold for Bengalis, Bonedi barir pujo has a different charm and one such Pujo Bari in Central Kolkata is the Mallick Bari puja. The traditions of the pujo have been retained since 1853, i.e. more than 160 years. The Durga Puja of Mallick Bhawan is unique with its traditional approach. The idol of Maa Durga reaches the very next day after Mahalaya and her arrival starts the Devipaksha, another type of Durga Puja festival Kolkata. The smiling face with a charm in her eyes (Mrinmoyee) is something one just can’t miss. The artisans who create such beautiful idols have been doing it for generations without fail. The uniqueness is the Sonar saaje sajono (decorated in real gold), which the idol is famous for.
Currently the 5th generation Barun Mallick runs the Puja and the lavishness of the celebrations has only increased over the years, along with its sanctity and devotion. Saptami marks the first day of puja days when Kola Bow or Nabapatrika is given a pre-dawn bath on the ghats of Ganga. During Sandhi Puja, the entire courtyard of Mallick Bhawan is filled with hymns of spiritual Mantras. Mallick bari still continues the Nilkontho ritual where Nilkontho (Indian roller) is set free. She acts as a messenger to inform Shiva about the arrival of Goddess Durga during the Durga Puja aarti in Kolkata.
Address: 7 Ratan Sarkar Garden Street, Burrabazar, North Kolkata
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5. Chatu Babu Latu Babu Family’s Durga Puja
This Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata saw the dawn in 1770 when Ram Dulal Dey started Devi puja at their Beadon street residence. After him the puja lineage was carried on by his sons and it fondly came to be known as ‘Chatu Babu and Latu Babu’ puja. The uniqueness of the idol is that Laxmi and Saraswati are not seen with veena or rice pot. They just have their hands raised in the form of blessings. The décor behind the idol is known as ‘Chalchitra’ and is the major attraction in this puja. It is divided into three parts – Motchauri. On the ‘chalchitra’ one can see Jaya and Bijaya (Durga’s consorts or sakhis), along with Shiva, Ram and Hanuman behind. Vegetable sacrifice is still very much a part of the puja.
Address: “Ramdulal Nibas”, 67E Beadon Street ( Alias Dani Ghosh Street), North Kolkata
10 Famous Kolkata Durga Puja Pandals
Here are some of the most famous pandals in Kolkata where you can enjoy the festivities and seek Goddess Durga’s blessings:
- Ekdalia Evergreen – Located at Gariahat, this puja was started in the year 1943. The main highlight of this puja is that it replicates the temples from all around the country using its unique artwork.
- Kumartuli Park – Started in 1995, this puja is famous for its handcrafted idols and also the ingenious themes which will be worth witnessing.
- College Square – This puja was started in the year 1948 beside a lake in Central Kolkata. The puja holds its tradition till date and is known for simplicity and reflected beauty.
- Santosh Mitra Square – Celebrated at the Bow Bazaar area, this puja was started here in 1936. This was earlier called the Sealdah Sarbojanin Durgotsav. The main highlight of this puja is its intricate artwork display.
- Jodhpur Park – This is another famous pandal which is famous around the city for showcasing a wide array of themes and experimental elements every year. This place is located close to the Jadavpur Thana in South Kolkata.
- Badamtala Ashar Sangha – This is a 75 year old puja organised at Kalighat, South Kolkata. This place also got an award for creative excellence in the year 2010.
- Bose Pukur Sitala Mandir – This pandal has already received many accolades for showcasing the rural Bengal through motifs, idols and also artwork. This is located at the Bose Pukar kasba which is located at the south of the city.
- Suruchi Sangha – This place holds an importance because of showcasing the state of India in various artworks and installations. The best thing about this place is that even the idol is also made suitable to the theme. Started 50 years ago, till date this is one of the famous durga pooja at New Alipore, South Kolkata.
- Mohammad Ali Park – Set up in the year of 1969 at MG road, this place is known for showcasing the replica of beautiful architectures.
- Bagbazar – This is almost a 100 years old puja which takes place in the North of Kolkata alongside the river. This puja is beautiful to see for its simplicity and traditional rituals.
Without a doubt, these durga puja in Kolkata is the treat to the eyes. The celebrations are going to be the highlights of Durga Puja 2020, like all previous years. Plan a trip now to experience the fervor and festivities in full bloom and glory.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Durga Puja In Kolkata
A. Durga Puja is amongst the most popular festival of West Bengal and is celebrated with great zeal in Kolkata. The locals wait for the entire year for this 4-days celebration to honor Goddess Durga.
A. Kolkata offers numerous interesting and delicious food recipes that make visitors fall in love with this city. Apart from delicious and world-famous Bengali sweets, there are many popular recipes of Kolkata cuisine that you surely don’t want to miss out while staying here. Macher Jhol, Kolkata Biryani, Kosha Mangsho, Alur Torkari with Luchi, Shukto, and Chelo Kebab are the most popular food items of Kolkata.
A. According to the old texts and surviving manuscripts, Durga Puja was celebrated even before the 16th century by royal and wealthy families to celebrate the Goddess Durga.
A. Durga Puja and their magnificent Pandals are the main attraction of Dussehra in Kolkata. According to the records, Kolkata hosts over 3,000 major pandals during Durga Puja.
A. Durga Puja is celebrated for 4 consecutive days during the time of Navratri and Dussehra.
A. Durga Puja is a festival that celebrates the triumph of righteousness over darkness. The celebration of Durga Puja in Kolkata is one of its kind and lures pilgrims and travelers from across the world with its exclusive experiences. From beautiful pandals to delicious bhog prasad, and prominent cultural performances, Durga Puja is a unique experience in Kolkata when the entire city joins their hands to glorify the power of Goddess Durga.
A. The most popular Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata are that of Bagbazar, Kumartuli Park, College Square, Mohammad Ali Park, Santosh Mitra Square, Badamtala Ashar Sangha, and Suruchi Sanhga.
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