Durga Puja in Kolkata
While many find Kolkata claustrophobic and too crowded during the Durga Puja days I found beauty in its elaborate and breathtaking pandals. These are last years pictures when wee wend pandal hopping for two days enjoying the frenzy, hype and the madness.
Despite the crowd I managed to enjoy the festive occasion with people thronging lines from all across the country because of a noble soul. The taxi that we had rented during our entire stay was driven by a Sardarji who had lived his entire life in Kolkata. He new the streets of Kolkata like the back of his hand and ensured that we visited the best pandals. He timed it such that before the lines got longer we were done with our darshan.
This set up was in College Square in North Kolkata one of the hotspots.
The pandals compete amongst themselves throughout the ten days. North and South Kolkata has its own specialties. While one gives importance the eyes of the goddess the other focuses on huge sets with varied themes.
Look at this mammoth sized twinkling chandelier. Lakhs are spent and experts from the art and architectural field are involved in setting up the pandal.
Each pandal had it’s own theme.
Like this one all the deities were sculpted as butterflies.
Some were very eco friendly as they used natural products. In this photograph you would see that clay was used for the entire set up.
Here you can see that the whole pandal has been decorated using bottle brush. Flowers, Grasses, Trees and plants model was made using bottle brushes.
The themes varied from India to overseas.
The pandal at Tridhara Sammilani was based on Buddhism theme. There were few Buddhist monks as well chanting in the pandal.
Everyone was dressed in their best attire and seen hopping pandals.
The Dhunachi dance with the incense burner is one to watch for.
The men in white (Kolkata Policemen) are seen managing the traffic. The ubiquitous hand carts, yellow cabs breeze through the road.
Puchkas and Kulhad ki chai are seen selling in every nook and corner.
That is my driver who ensured I enjoyed my stay in Kolkata. A city of contrasts where chaos exists amidst the peace that you seek for in the divine being.
A kaleidoscope of colours and life for the madness called celebration. After all what are festivals for if the hullaboo is missing? Are you game for it?