Today, the 6th of October is Mahalaya. That means the wait is over. ‘Debi pokhho’ has arrived and Durga puja is just around the corner. People of India wait with bated breath for this festival to arrive. Every year, people celebrate this festival either in September or October. There are 10 days in the festival, the main days being Shasthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Nabami, and Dashami. This year Shasthi falls on the 11th of October. The last day of the celebration is 15th October. So here is a list of the top 10 Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata which one should hop around.
Bagbazar Durga Puja
Bagbazar enjoys a great location. This is because it is situated on the banks of the river in North Kolkata. It is reckoned to be one of the oldest Durga Pujo pandals in the city. It also boasts of being the venue for about a century. This place has been in existence for a very long period. So naturally, it has the liking amongst the locals who come here to witness the famous Bagbazar Sarbojanin Durgotsav & Exhibition. One can relish the traditional ways of Puja here along with simple décor. This takes one back in time. There is a carnival that takes place here during the Durgotsav. Here one can also enjoy various rides and eat to their heart’s content.
Santosh Mitra Square Durga Puja Pandal
Santosh Mitra Square is hosting the Durga puja for more than 80 years now. So, this is definitely a popular name when it comes to the best Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata. If one goes back in time to 2017, one might remember that this pandal became extremely popular. It was because they chose the London Theme. There, Goddess Durga was in a Buckingham Palace-like setting. This year too, the committee has decided to do something that can pull a huge crowd despite the darkness spread by the Covid 19 pandemic. Durga idol artist Mintu Pal confirmed that this year the idol of Durga is going to be traditional. Due to the pandemic, they are not experimenting very much. However, the festive mood and enthusiasm will be the same as before.
Mohammad Ali Park Durga Puja Pandal
One of the popular Durga Pujas of North Kolkata is the Mohammad Ali Park Durga Puja. One must definitely visit it in Durga puja 2021. This puja takes place every year and it showcases magnificent architecture. Since its inception, the Mohammad Ali Park Durga Puja samity has tried out several things. They tried to bring out several replicas of monuments – explored and unexplored, from all over the world. They also tried to bring out the dioramas of ancient literature.
The samity, even though it follows the changing trend of architecture and style, has preserved its age-old culture and tradition. This is reflected in the artistic work. The interior and exterior decoration of the Pandal is always a treat to the eye. It is because it details the theme. The venue further features a simple illumination. However, the entire park area decks up with dazzling and colorful lighting. The Mohammad Ali Durga Puja Samity has won several awards in different categories. Therefore, it is also one of the prestigious Durga Puja in Kolkata. It is also one of the top 5 Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata.
Ballygunge Cultural Association
Ballygunge Cultural Association is also popular in Kolkata for its simple and traditional Durga Puja. The pandal can be visited on Jatin Das Road which is off Southern Avenue. One can also reach it through Rashbehari Avenue. The setting here is such that it will definitely take one into yesteryear celebrations when the devotion and love for the goddess were even more. This is one of the most famous Durga Puja Pandals of Kolkata. One should keep it in mind and not miss it by any chance. The preparations of the puja have already started during Rath Yatra.
Ekdalia Evergreen Club Puja
Ekdalia Evergreen Club is very clever. They keep it simple yet make it worth visiting every year. The interior and exterior work of the pandal simply brings up the ancient forms of art and replicas of world heritage sites. For example, in 2011 the Ekdalia Evergreen Club Durgotsab Samity represented a theme based on a German village. In 2012, they brought up the Golden Temple in Vellore, and in 2013 they kept it simple based on a traditional Indian temple. However, the most interesting aspect of Ekdalia Evergreen Club Durgotsab is that they preserve their age-old form of traditional Durga Pratima. This is a distinct feature that is different from any other noted Durga Puja in Kolkata.
College Square Durga Puja Pandal
This puja is located on College Street, which is some 1.5 long. College Square boasts of a picturesque setting for hosting a must-see Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata. This square sits on the bank of a lake and was established in 1948. During the Durgotsav when the entire place is festooned with lights, the place looks stunning. It looks absolutely surreal.
The pretty reflection is something nobody wants to miss out on. It is because of this reason that one will always find College Square jam-packed during the pujas. In 2021, it will be the 75th year of the Durga Puja celebration. However, because of the horror of the third wave of the pandemic, the organizers and locals have decided something. They took the decision to keep the pandal smaller compared to that of previous years. The idol of goddess Durga will be less than 10 ft in height. Also, the people visiting the pandal would have to follow the covid guidelines laid by the government very strictly.
Kumartuli Park Puja
Kumartuli Park is one of the prominent Durgatsab in Kolkata. It is one of the most famous pujas held in North Kolkata. Close to Sovabazar Ferry, the Kumartuli Park Durgotsab showcases a fusion of old-fashioned grandeur and art. This year the idols will be around 12 ft. in height. The style of architecture will display every aspect of traditional Indian culture. It will also draw huge crowds from different parts of the city.
The Kumartuli Park Durgotsab committee manages to preserve its social and cultural milieu. It is one of the oldest localities of Kolkata and home to hundreds of artisans. Kumartuli has its narrow maze of lanes and alleyways. It is a settlement of hundreds of potters/artisans. These artisans earn their livelihood by sculpting idols for various festivals.
Further, there is another fact that has to be noted about Kumartuli. It is that idols of goddess Durga and other deities sculpted by the potters of Kumartuli are also exported to Canada, the US, UK, and Southeast Asian countries for the Durga Puja Festival.
Tridhara Sammilani Puja
The Tridhara Sammilani Durgotsav stands at the meeting point of three roads. These roads are Rashbehari Avenue, Manohar Pukur Road, and Mahanirban Road. It is another popular Durga Puja in South Kolkata. But the inner meaning is quite different. It is that goes the unique merging of the thoughts of the three generations- The Seniors, The Present, and The Future Youth give it the name ‘Tridhara’. This is also the fusion ground of Tradition, Culture, and Social Activity.
It is initiated in 1947 in a very homely and quiet ambiance. Today it witnesses lakhs of visitors. Every year, the committee focuses on creative and innovative pandals. The journey has brought forward a traditional Terracotta style of Bishnupur in 2007. It also brought forward a replica of the Mantrasala of the Padmanabhapuram Palace of Kerala in 2008. In 2009, it depicted the replica of the Daksheshwar Mahadev Temple and ‘Brahmo’ in 2010. It also brought about the replica of a Rajasthani haveli in 2011. It is thus one of the best Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata to add to one’s Durga Puja Pandal hopping list.
Samaj Sebi Sangha
This puja is situated on Lake View Road in South Kolkata. Samaj Sebi Sangha is known for its traditional themes. The Sangh is also known to incorporate social messages in its themes. They have portrayed the themes of women empowerment and right parenting. One can get glimpses of it very clearly in the pandal interiors. Every year Durga Puja is celebrated here with great pomp and show. Their main aim is to spread the message of love and kindness. This year the celebration will be on a low scale. It is because they have to keep in mind the safety of people from the pandemic.
Lake Town Adhibasi Brinda Puja Pandal
The Lake Town Adhibasi Brinda Durgatsab is all geared up to celebrate Durga Puja this year. It brings up a homely environment through an illustrious subject. This is yet another ‘barari’ type Durga Puja that was initiated in the year 1963 by the residents of this locality. Lake Town Adhibasi Brinda Durgatsab is very different if compared to other popular Durga puja pandals in Kolkata. This Durgatsab does not go for huge artificial structures. Even after this, the architectural work maintains themes like social awareness, pilgrimage, rural and current events. They also produce and present a distinct and traditional form of goddess Durga idol.
The samity has preserved its social and cultural side for many years now. They also engage in the maintenance of parks for children. The members also organize cultural programs like songs, dance, drama, and recitation. They also arrange for blood donation camps, health check-ups throughout the year. Along with that, they provide financial help to the poor.