FRONTIERS BEYOND BLOG
Every auspicious festival in the vibrant land of the Indian subcontinent always aims to celebrate prosperity, abundance, goodness, and righteousness. Durgotsav or Durga Pujo is not much of a diversion from this philosophy that means to revere the battle and subsequent victory of goodness over evil. Durga Pujo is celebrated in different ways all across the country with different streaks of colors added in various states of India. But West Bengal adds a different charm to this festival since for them it is not only the victory celebration of the mother Goddess Durga over the tyrannical and nefarious buffalo demon Mahishasura over a 10-day gruesome battle but also the homecoming of their daughter Durga from her heavenly abode in Mount Kailasa with her beloved children. The festival is celebrated in the cultural capital of India –Kolkata which happens to be the capital city of West Bengal in a larger-than-life canvas for more than 7 days now.
Little on the mythology: The fascinating tales go in this way when heavens and earth were troubled with demons who were making the lives of the Gods and divine creatures and innocent beings miserable. The king of Heavens, Indra was at his wit’s end with no solution in sight as he came face to face with a formidable enemy in the form of Mahishasura whose cruelty, greed, and ambitions knew no bounds. He was blessed by wise and erudite Lord Brahma himself making him almost immortal with no males ever having the power to defeat or kill him. And that is exactly what drove him to this destructive stage where he made things so painful for others basking in the boon received.
Finally, Lord Indra decided along with other Gods to approach the Holy Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwar or Shiva) to save them from this debacle. With some retrospection from Holy Trinity, they realized, that if not a male power, a female power can show him his right place. And with this idea, with their divine energies, they created the mother Goddess Durga, who was empowered with 10 hands armed with 10 deadly weapons. She was born with the goodness of all the Gods, the power of martial arts never perceived before, and a sinless beauty worth beholding to captivate any heart.
She went to challenge the power-hungry demon Mahishasura who initially laughed at her existence and thought her to be a merely beautiful creation of the Gods from their whims and fancies and nothing more. But she soon proved him wrong by killing all his allies and with a fierce battle that shook the heavens for nine days which is celebrated as Navratri. She eventually got the victory on the 10th day by killing Mahishasura celebrated as Dussehra all over the country and fondly called Vijaya Dashami in Bengal. On this day the Bengali women bid teary-eyed farewell to the mother Goddess and wait for her arrival again the year next. To experience Vijaya Dashami in its truest forms delve deep into East India Tour with Frontiers Beyond quickly.
What time and which place? Durga Pujo is also called Sharodotsav (Sharad Utsav) since it is celebrated in the fall which is referred to as Sharad in India. It is usually celebrated in the month of September or October. For this year the celebrations are starting on the 25th Of September with Mahalaya and ending on the 5th of October which marks Vijaya Dashami.
Be it the quaint villages of Bengal where the quintessential Kash Phool or the Kans grass sway from one side to another or the chilly mountains of North Bengal, the celebrations can be seen in some other forms but to experience Durga Pujo at its best, there is no replacement for the city of Joy. The arrival of the mother Goddess allows the city to drape itself in showers of Lightworks and fascinating artwork which paints the city once a year in such a mood that is never to be seen any time or anywhere else. To live this grandeur Frontiers Beyond can be your ultimate guide.
Numerous Pujo Committees formed in Kolkata who has a massive budget and reliable sources of funding that allows them to compete against each other to showcase the best lighting works and artworks in the Pujo pandals (the façade which houses the idol of the Goddess). Renowned private companies operating in the region announce awards in various segments to nurture talents and works of art from makers and students of the Art Colleges. Artists pour in from all corners of the state to showcase their talents and ensure to earn from the extra gigs. Every nook and cranny of the city houses the jubilant and festive vibe of Durga Pujo and the city streets are lit and always populated with the vivacious crowd and ardent devotees 24×7. Walking the street during such a time is safe and will always come with surprises for any traveler.
Where to visit in this Pujo 2022: Durga Puja is a very big affair and there are always a scope of surprise and best elements popping up which stand unique. Here we have curated some of the best Durga Puja Pandals for the year 2022
Taste Venice with Swabhumi: The North Kolkata Pujo is planning to turn heads by creating the quintessential romantic city of Italy- Venice. For gorging on some really good and yet fine dining gourmet experience, you can head towards Rajkutir Hotel’s East India Room.
For a more budget-friendly yet amazing local food experience you can definitely head towards Dhamsa Madol restaurant in Eco park. A Drum-themed restaurant with some exquisite thali offerings that bring the taste of various Bengali districts to tickle your taste buds and are sure to stay with you for long. For a more local immersion experience, Frontiers Beyond curates a lovely trip for you.
Experience a real train in Nainan Bandhav Samity: Another North Kolkata puja, which plans to keep a train inside their Premise which will talk heaps about the work of renowned Oscar-winning director Satyajit Ray.
Get awed by the 20 hands Durga at Laketown Adhibashi Brindo: 10 hands were not enough, Here we have 20 hands menacing Durga awaiting the onlookers in this famous Puja committee of North Kolkata.
Experience the regal Coochbehar Rajbari at Deshapriyo Park: One of the huge crowd-pulling pandals of South Kolkata, Deshapriyo Park has done amazing homework to build the Coochbehar Rajbari with some amazing Light and Sound shows.
The strategic location of Deshapriyo Park will also allow you to taste some amazing Bengali cuisines which are served by some high-quality mid-range eateries like 6 Ballugunje Place, or Bhojohori Manna.
Samajsebi Sangha reminds us of the 1946 riots: Another South Kolkata Pujo that plans to bring back the 1946 riot memories that shook the nation and tore families apart. Despite of celebrating 75 years of Indian Independence, we really cannot forget the trials and tribulations of the past when India took pride to stand as a unified nation.
These are some of the little glimpses of what to expect, but Frontiers Beyond can open the Pandora’s box for its travelers who wish to see Puja from the eyes of the locals in the vibrant state.
Bonedi Bari puja 2022: Not only the Durga Puja Committees, but there are many age old Zamindari homes that still perform Durga Puja with the same Pomp and Show and it is absolutely a pleasure to see how the royal households still keep the custom alive taking pride in the heritage. These traditional household Pujas are called Bonedi Barir Pujo.
Sabarna Roy Chowdhury Bari Puja: When we talk about Bonedi Bari r Pujo, we really cannot miss the oldest among them. Started in the year 1610, the Puja is older than the city and used to be a magnum opus in itself with elaborate arrangements and Chowdhuris owning many villages under them.
Sovabajar Rajbari Durga Puja: Situated in North Kolkata’s bustling lane, and started as early as 1757 by Raja Naba Krishna Deb. It was one of the first pujo to open its arms towards non-Hindu devotees to see the glory of a Durga Pujo. Once upon a time they even use to fly Nilkantha birds on the last day of Druga puja and the tradition continued till the Wildlife Preservation Act prevented it.
Bawali Rajbari: This can be one of your best bets, a little away from the southern parts of the city, you are sure to experience old-world Zamindari charm in Bawali Rajbari. They have turned their property into a boutique hotel and during Durga Pujo it is a sight to behold with Shondha Aroti (hymns chanted with camphor burnt smokes), they create a surreal environment that will transport the guests to a different era.
And if you ever get too tired to venture to a café or restaurant to take care of your thirst and hunger, you can rest assured with the street food with the enthusiastic vendors shouting out their lungs to attract all the devotees walking on the lanes. Be it hot served moms, or the spicy chaats and bhel puris, or the Gola ice creams and kesar kulfi- something will surely seem attractive and fun!!
There are many more Rajbaris and Bonedi bari Pujo to visit and Frontiers Beyond is there to ensure you have an insightful stay an experience worth cherishing in terms of cultural or gastronomic experiences