Durga Puja in Kolkata: A Festival of Culture, Colours and Community

a close-up shot of the face of devi durga

If you are planning to experience Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata, there's no place like the city itself to dive into the festivities. Why not make your visit even more special by staying at Kenilworth Hotel, Kolkata? With comfortable rooms, a choice of 2 delectable restaurants and a rejuvenating spa - it's the perfect home base for your puja adventures.

When is Durga Puja Celebrated?

Durga Puja is generally observed in late September to early October, aligning with the lunar calendar. This year, in 2023, the festival is set to take place from 20th to 24th October. The timing coincides with the Indian autumn season, making it a delightful period weather-wise to be in Kolkata. Specifically, the festival spans over five days, starting from the sixth day of the lunar month of Ashwin, known as 'Mahalaya', and culminating on the tenth day, referred to as 'Vijayadashami.' This period is also known for its favourable 'Sharad' climate, marked by clear skies and pleasant temperatures, further enhancing the celebratory mood.

an image of devi durga defeating the demon inside a pandal during durga puja
an image of a craftsman delicately painting the idol of devi durga

What Makes Durga Puja Special?

This festival isn't just about idol worship; it's the epitome of Bengali culture and signifies the victory of good over evil. Streets come alive with artistic pandals (temporary structures), rhythmic drum beats and the sweet aroma of incense. For Bengalis, Durga Puja is much more than a religious occasion; it's a social and cultural celebration that transcends all barriers. The idols showcased during the festival are works of art, painstakingly created by skilled artisans, often from the Kumartuli region, who spend months in preparation. Additionally, the festival is marked by a range of cultural performances like dance dramas, folk music and poetry recitations, showcasing the rich cultural tapestry of Bengal.

An Explosion of Art: The Pandal Experience

Each neighbourhood tries to outdo the other in creating the most intricate and elaborate pandals. Some are inspired by current events, some by local culture and others by sheer imagination. Every year, certain pandals gain citywide fame and become must-see attractions. Among the most renowned is Santosh Mitra Square, known for its grandeur and thematic presentations. Interestingly, the entire pandal-building process often starts months in advance and involves not just artisans but community participation at various levels. If you're staying around Russel Street, the Paddapukur Durga Puja Pandal is conveniently close, offering a more intimate experience of the festival without compromising on artistic flair.

an image of durga puja pandal along with bright lights and devi durga idol
an image of devi durga and her children the time of Immersion

A Feast for the Senses

It's not just a visual spectacle; your taste buds are in for a treat too. From spicy 'puchkas' (water-filled crisps) to sweet 'roshogullas', street food is an essential part of the festival. Stalls often feature a range of Bengali culinary treasures, and it's not uncommon to see traditional sweets like 'sandesh' and 'mishti doi' being sold alongside modern treats.

The celebrations are also accompanied by unique customs and performances. One of the most captivating is the 'Dhunuchi’ dance, where performers dance to the rhythm of drums while holding clay pots filled with burning coconut husks and camphor. On the final day, married women participate in 'Sindoor Khela', where they smear each other with vermilion, bidding adieu to Goddess Durga and praying for the well-being of their families.

As the festivities wind down, you will want a cosy yet luxurious space to relax and reflect on the experiences you have gathered. That is why Kenilworth Hotel, Kolkata is ideal for your stay. Enjoy a sumptuous meal at our restaurants, pamper yourself at the spa and sink into the plush comfort of your room. We are conveniently located near a lot of famous pandals, so you don't miss out on anything. 

So, if you wish to immerse yourself in the vivid culture and heartfelt spirituality of Durga Puja, Kolkata is the place to be. Read more about 'Must Visit Places in Kolkata' in our blog and fall in love with the city.