Celebrating Durga Puja 2019 – My Top Picks
November 17, 2019
Every Bengali waits with bated breath for the Durga Puja throughout the year. Not only because it’s the biggest festival for the Bengalis, the world over – it’s truly a cultural extravaganza. Durga Puja is a time for enjoyment, merry-making and spending quality time with family and friends accompanied by a lot of pandal hopping and lots & lots of delicious food.
As you must have understood already, this blog post is about this year’s Durga Puja. Apart from spending quality time with family personally, I love pandal hopping i.e. visiting the temporary temple-like structures where the Goddess is worshipped.
Durga Puja in Kolkata –
In Kolkata, West Bengal and also all over the world, these pandals are either theme based or in authentic traditional style.
Kolkata, being the capital of West Bengal and the hot seat of Bengali culture is a pioneer in themes, styles and decor, be it for pandals or the idols.
Here I will list some of the best Durga Puja pandals we saw this year –
Chetla Agrani –
Like always, this year also they matched up to their fame. I especially loved this pandal due to the unique theme of depicting an upside down Kolkata. It was an interesting experience seeing all the renowned landmarks of the city in an inverted position. And this was done on the ceiling of the pandal.
As you enter the pandal, all the old but nostalgic items that people in Kolkata used like old phones,
typewriters, gramophone, even the hand pulled rickshaw were adorning the walls and the outside of the pandal.
Attracting one of the highest number of footfalls each year, this club is definitely my top choice.
Mudiali Club –
A years-old club upholding their heritage, continues to be a benchmark when it comes to bringing out the
beauty of the Durga Puja. This year their pandal was breathtaking, anyone entering the place would be mesmerized by the colour splash. The whole decor was made from glass be it fiber glass, painted or tinted ones or even glass bangles.
It was so amazing that I cannot even describe how beautiful it looked. The colourful glass decorations shimmering under lights, it was a surreal feeling. The idol was in a traditional pattern and the Goddess was so beautiful. Definitely one of the best I saw this year.
Tridhara Sammilani –
Located at a prime spot in South Kolkata, very near to another famous puja pandal Deshapriya Park – this place has risen to the highest order in the recent years.
This year, their theme was that we see Goddess Durga in every girl or woman. As you enter the pandal you can see a lot of faces of girl children, women or old ladies but as you walk ahead all these faces evolve into faces of the mother Goddess. The idol of the Goddess is modeled as a young girl and there are thousands of beautiful colourful flowers adorning the pedestal on which the idol stands. An absolutely stunning scene unfolds before one’s eyes and you get transported to your own piece of paradise.
Tarun Sangha –
One of the most renowned puja pandals in North Kolkata side, this is again a years-old pandal that has upheld it’s reputation over the years.
This time, their theme was to showcase a world of 2091 in today’s era. The earth as it will be in 2091 had been represented here, along with the buildings, amenities as they might be in that era.
The interior was done up in bamboo and wood work, everything aesthetically crafted and amazing to look at. There were items used in traditional offering to the Goddess, including the famous holy Trident or trishul as it’s called in Hinduism – a symbol of power and strength. The idol was a beautifully designed one, almost like a clay plaque. I loved the concept and the beauty of this place.
41 Pally –
A very famous puja pandal from the region of Haridevpur in South Kolkata, year after year this place dishes out beautiful themes and an amazing ambiance for the pandal hoppers.
This time, the theme here was news – any type of news, be it what we receive over telephone or what we read in the newspaper or what we see on the news channels. News plays such an important part in our lives and this news has been portrayed as a character here.
The decor was sophisticated with old telephones, men pulling rickshaw, a person letting a pigeon fly away and boats, lots of boats and obviously newspaper cuttings. Beautifully designed and thought out, one of the best this year.
Naktala Udayan Sangha –
An extremely famous puja pandal in south Kolkata side, this place attracts celebrities and general public alike. Every year they offer something new on the palette and this time was no different.
The decor was rustic with loads of earthen pots adorning the outside and inner walls of the pandal. Holographic images were used to depict a potter making clay pots. In the inner sanctorum, there were more pots but they were rhythmically opening and closing creating a surreal ambiance.
The idol seemed suspended in air and the demon Mahishasura was laid out in a defeated head upside down posture. What made this picture perfect was the reflection on the surrounding water body. This is one of the most loved pandals and I absolutely loved this one.
Now it’s time for some of the Special Mentions from this year –
Jodhpur Park –
It’s also one of the oldest and most renowned Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata.
This year, the pandal was a temple carved out of a fly ash block. The idol in black was a shining example of the mastery of the artisans here. The decor and carvings of this temple are brilliantly made.
66 Pally –
This beautiful pandal was an experience in itself. At the entrance stood a huge diya, lamp crafted out of jute fibers.
The walls had faces of famous artists from Bengal. The idol was unique and exquisitely designed.
Sreebhumi Sporting Club –
Designed exquisitely like a Rajasthani palace, this pandal boasts of brilliant work and excellent ambiance.
The glittering chandelier and the idol is truly pretty. It’s one of the major crows pullers.
FD Block, Salt Lake –
This pandal based its theme on the world renowned children’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels. From Gulliver sleeping in the land of the Lilliput to the queer little houses, the city on one side and village on the other and moving figurines.
The main shrine was a fantastic looking cathedral and the decor aesthetic. The idol and the atmosphere was so amazing, this surely transported one to their childhood era.
Concluding the festivities –
Apart from these amazing pandals in Kolkata, I would like to add that all the pandals and the idols have something unique, something very beautiful. We try visiting most of these pandals and to enjoy ourselves as much as possible. And these days, the districts of West Bengal are not far behind in terms of pomp, fanfare and grandeur in their pandals or idols. Hoping I was able to represent the extravaganza of the Durga Puja this year in Kolkata.
Durga Puja is over for this year and the long wait for next year’s Puja has begun. As we eagerly look forward to the arrival of Mother Goddess Durga next year, we can only chant her name, bow our heads in reverence and feel the happiness in our hearts.