Every year lakhs of visitors flock to the city of joy, also believed to be the cultural capital of Bharat, Kolkata, to experience the grandeur of Durga Puja celebrations like no where else. We have picked the 10 most popular and brilliantly put together Durga Puja pandals of Kolkata this year.
The very area where clay modelers handcraft the mammoth Durga murtis has started hosting a puja of their own from 1995, and that makes Kumurtuli a relatively younger puja. But one can always expect the unexpected from Kumurtuli pooja as the organizers are champions of thinking out of the box and always come out with some unique theme. This year, their theme revolved around outer space.
Ballygunge Cultural Association
Ballygunge Cultural Association doesn’t own its name to its marvelous Durga Puja alone. Started in 1951, the association is known for organizing traditional cultural programs and experimenting with vivid art forms year on year. Jugalbandi being the theme for 2019, they have come up with a fine balance of old and new arts forms. This is going to be one environmentally-friendly pandal made with cane, bamboo and steel.
The Bagbazar Durga Puja is not only one of the city’s oldest Durga Pujas but also celebrated its centenary last year. The pandal is kept relatively simple and emphasizes on culture and tradition of Bengal. Its strikingly beautiful murti of Goddess Durga pulls lakhs of visitors to her home year after year. Carnival rides for kids and stalls for the foodies are in plenty. The Sindoor Khela on Dashami is one of the main attractions and married women from all corners of the city come in scores to be a part of this merriment.
Santosh Mitra Square
Founded as Sealdah Sarbojanin Durgotsav in 1936, renamed as Santosh Mitra Square in 1996, it hosts one of the most spectacular Pandals in the City of joy. It rose to fame, particularly in 1997, conceptualizing the innovative theme Pooja which is being carried on since then and has gained immense popularity in recent years. The flawless artwork exhibited will leave one flabbergasted. In 2019, they opted to mingle two worlds. The pandal resembled the ISKON temple of Srila Prabhupada from the outside, and the inside featured the grandeur of Jaipur’s Sheesh Mahal. The breath-taking murti was covered in 50 kgs gold.
The spacious pandal of Jodhpur Park is a major attraction of South Kolkata. Its themes have been vast and varied, with some years more traditional than others. Many pandals have adopted architectural inspiration from Shiva temples this years, and Jodhpur Park was no different. They used ash to build it, signifying the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
Mohammad Ali Park
The first puja held at Mohammad Ali Park was in 1969 and the mandap built year on year at the spacious park has since been a crowd puller. The murti of this renowned park always bears an ethereal look. The organizers strive to achieve perfection with elaborate pandal displays of replicated monuments and temples. This year they picked the famous Murugan temple of Kerala as their inspiration for the pandal design.
Suruchi Sangha welcomes its visitors with arty display lined on interesting themes. Suruchi Sangha has been organizing the Durga Puja for over 50 years now, but first found its name in 2003 after being awarded for its well-adorned mandap and exquisite craftsmanship. In 2019, they drew the inspiration from old aristocratic bonedi Bengali homes featuring ornate hand-pulled fan.
The club has been hosting Durga Pujas since 1943 and is celebrated for its outstanding imitations of ancient temples from across Bharat. The splendid decor and striking lighting are superb. The pandal is known to have one of the tallest murtis of the Goddess in the city. This year, they built a look-alike of the famed Jatoli Shiva temple situated in the locales of Himachal Pradesh, housing a 16-feet-tall murti lit up by an enormous chandelier at the ceiling.
Badamtala Ashar Sangha
Badamtala Ashar Sangha boasts a 75-year-old history of organizing the Durga Puja and has rightfully claimed a special place in the city dwellers’ hearts. It is a fine specimen of how this puja grew from just a regular one to an award-winning creative excellence. As the theme fervor grew on the city, Badamtala too took on the challenge and has been producing some captivating artistic gems. This year’s theme was predicated Bhagwan Shiva’s third eye.
Since its establishment in 1948, the square illuminates its picturesque setting by the lake and gears up for the festivities. Its sparkling lights, with their glorious reflection in the lake water, attracts crowds not only from Kolkata or rural Bengal, but also from states adjoining West Bengal. This year, they created a magnificent replica of Jodhpur’s Umaid Bhawan Palace and outdid themselves yet again. If you ever get to be here, don’t miss the Kumari Puja.
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