Every travel destination has a best time to visit depending on the weather and festivities and can seem quite different at different times of the year. However, Kolkata during Durgotsav looks and feels so different that it can easily be mistaken for some other city altogether. There is festivity and celebration in the air as the city comes to a halt for 3-4 days. Come October, go and experience this for yourself!
Durga Puja also known as Durgotsava or Sharadotsava is an annual Hindu festival celebrated with much fanfare in West Bengal. Pandals are set up with idols of Goddess Durga inside these. These are beautifully designed with interesting concepts. Some depict historical monuments, some famous temples while others have theme based décor based on recent events in the country. Every year, there are several competitions held during this time to select the most beautiful pandal, most environment friendly pandal, so on and so forth.
Sound of drum beats and aartis fill the air. Streets illuminated with colorful lights make up for a very pleasing sight. Some of these light arrangements even depict stories and events. Localites stand in never ending queues to catch a glimpse/ Darshan of their Goddess in as many pandals as possible and this activity continues all dayand all night. Calcutta which otherwise has little to do at nights is bustling with activities and events. There are live performances too by local celebrities. The offices are shut during the festival to facilitate people in enjoying the festival to the maximum possible.
Places of interest
While in Kolkata, you must visit the historically significant Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Nehru Museum, Birla Museum and Science City too.
You may also take a boat ride on River Hooghly, experience a drive on the Howrah Bridge and enjoy Bengali sweets at one of the many local sweet shops.
Kali Temple in Kalighat has religious significance and so has the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple which is around 12 km away from Kolkata.
Although Kolkata looks resplendent during Durga Puja, you may want to avoid going to the city during this time if you are not comfortable with crowds and crowded places.
Image Credits: www.indiaopines.com, www.thehistoryhub.com, www.tourmyindia.com, www.durgapujaonline.com, www.thefunambulist.net