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Interesting Facts About Durga Puja in Kolkata and West Bengal

Kolkata, the former capital of India, is a city steeped in culture and tradition. The hub of Bengali culture, Kolkata has been host to the Durga Puja, the biggest festival in the region, for over a century. The five-day-long festival starts in the Bengali calendar month of Ashwin, which this year falls on September 18. The festival is an occasion for people from all walks of life to come together and celebrate the victory of good over evil, represented by the goddess Durga.

Durga Puja Dates 2022 – 1st October to 5th October 2022

Maha Shashthi October 1st (Saturday)
Maha Saptami October 2nd (Sunday)
Maha Ashtami October 3rd (Monday)
Maha Navami October 4th (Tuesday)
Maha Dashami October 5th (Wednesday)

Some of the interesting facts about Kolkata Durga Puja

Durga Puja Pandal Kolkata

  • Durga Puja in Kolkata is celebrated for five days each year.
  • These five days are called Maha Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Maha Dashami.
  • It’s a festival to pay homage to the victory of good over evil, lights over darkness. It’s a festival to seek blessings from Goddess Durga who killed Mahisasur, the demon king and protects the earth from him.
  • Durga Puja starts from Mahalaya while the Navratri starts in other states in India. The last day of this annual festival is Dashami, which is known as Dussehra in other states apart from West Bengal. Dussehra is celebrated to pay homage to the victory of Lord Rama over Ravana.
  • Apart from West Bengal, Durga Puja is also celebrated in neighbouring states like Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tripura and Assam. Moreover, it is also celebrated in some foreign countries by the Bengali communities living there.
  • As Vijaya Dashami marks the end of the festival, Bengali people make “bhashan” or immerse the idols in water.
  • According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga visits her matrimonial home or earthly home from Kailasha this time. On Dashami, she again starts her return journey to Lord Shiva with her four children: Laxmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh.
  • Some amazing facts about Kolkata Durga Puja are that each day of the festival has its own significance.
  • For instance, on Mahalaya, eyes are painted on the idols, which is called “Chokkhu Daan.”
  • On the 6th day of Mahalaya, the idols of Maa Durga and her children are welcomed in the pandals. However, going with the trend, for the past few years, the pandals keep open from Mahalaya nowadays.
  • In the early morning of Maha Saptami, the presence of the Goddess is invoked in the idol. The ritual is called “Kola Bou Snan (Bath).” A branch of a Banana tree wearing a saree stands beside Lord Ganesha from this day.
  • The last day of Durga Puja in Kolkata is marked with the celebration of Dashami. People greet each other by hugging, which is called “Kolakuli” and feed sweets and various homemade snacks to each other.
  • Kolkata Durga Puja Events start with opening the pandals by renowned personalities and cultural programmes. These are followed by eating festivals.
  • Meeting with family members, coming home and eating delectable dishes in various popular restaurants is also an important part of exploring Durga Puja Pandals in Kolkata and outside Kolkata.
  • Some of the interesting facts about Kolkata Durga Puja Pandals are that they are customised according to a theme every year.
  • The pandals are prepared for months starting from the bases to idols to the artworks.
  • Some pandals are famous in Kolkata for decorating the idols with original gold ornaments. You can expect utmost security in these pandals.
  • The idols look different in different regions of Kolkata, as in North Kolkata you can see “Daker Saaj,” which is also called the traditional look of Goddess Durga. In South Kolkata, the look of the idols changes in accordance with the theme of the pandals.
  • Several competitions with different segments are held during the time of Durga Puja in West Bengal. The winners and the runners-up are selected in Best Idols, Best Theme, Best Artworks and several other categories.
  • If you explore West Bengal’s Durga Puja Pandal Photo Gallery you will notice some homely celebrations of this festival. There are Rajbaris (royal houses) and Bonedi Baris (ancient houses) who celebrate Durga Puja Festival in their homes (courtyards) with relatives, friends and families. Some of the places like these can be explored in Kolkata like Sovabazar Rajbari or Thanthania Dutta Bari, but for the rest, you will need permission from the members of those families.
  • Some of the must-visit Durga Puja Pandals in Kolkata are Bagbazar Sarbojonin, Nabankur Sangha, Tala Park, College Square, Babubagan, Ekdalia, Mudiali Club, Singhi Park, Badamtola, Chetla Agrani, Tridhara, Shobhabazar Raj Bari, Chhatu Babu-Latu Babu House, Chandra Bari, Thanthania Dutta Bari, Kumartuli Sarbojanin and Saborno Raychaudhuri House.

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Kolkata becomes full of light and decked up on the occasion of Durga Puja every year. It is also a great time to learn about the place, its cuisines, street foods, traditions and rituals. If you are a keen traveller and want to explore Kolkata and West Bengal during the time of Durga Puja, join us in our Puja Tours. Let’s celebrate the grand festival together! Comment here if you are excited to visit Durga Puja Pandals with us.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the five days of Durga Puja called?

The five days of Durga Puja are called Maha Shashthi, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Maha Dashami. Each day comes with a different meaning and significance but is celebrated with the same enthusiasm by the people of West Bengal.

What are the Durga Puja 2022 dates?

Kolkata Durga Puja 2022 dates are:

  • Maha Shashthi: October 1st, Saturday
  • Maha Saptami: October 2nd, Sunday
  • Maha Ashtami: October 3rd, Monday
  • Maha Nabami: October 4th, Tuesday
  • Maha Dashami: October 5th, Wednesday

Which is the oldest Durga Puja in West Bengal or Kolkata?

In the year 1909, the first Barowari Durga Puja was organised by Bhowanipore Sanatan Dharmotsahini in Kolkata at Balaram Bose Ghat Road in Bhawanipore.

When was Durga Puja started in West Bengal and by whom?

Durga Puja was first started by Swami Vivekananda in 1901, which is now known as Durga Puja of Belur Maths attracting thousands of devotees every year.

Which are the must-visit Durga Puja pandals in North Kolkata?

Some of the must-visit North Kolkata Durga Puja Pandals are:

  • Bagbazar Sarbojonin
  • Nabankur Sangha
  • Tala Park
  • College Square
  • Chalta Bagan
  • Kashi Bose Lane
  • Mohammad Ali Park
  • Ahiritola Park

Which are the must-visit Durga Puja pandals in South Kolkata?

Some of the best South Kolkata Durga Puja pandals are:

  • Babubagan
  • Ekdalia
  • Mudiali Club
  • Singhi Park
  • Badamtala
  • Chetla Agrani
  • Tridhara
  • Jodhpur Park
  • Suruchi Sangha

Published: 17 Aug, 2022

About the author

Nandini Bhattacharya

From the ‘City of Joy,’ Kolkata, Nandini Bhattacharya is a Travel Writer by profession and traveller by passion. She loves to explore places around the world, new cultures, different cuisines and all new things that one can learn outside the home. She also loves to document her journey so that people can be inspired and travel more. Nandini is a nature lover and talks about sustainable tourism. She wants to make this world a good place where people can live healthy and happily.