Hindus celebrate Navratri and Bengali Hindus celebrate Durga pujo on the last five days of Navratri.What’s the difference?Oh, plenty.While fasting is a big part of Navratri all over North India, ask any self-respecting Bong what’s special about Durga pujo?Goddess Durga is loved as a mother, worshipped as Naari Shakti, warrior Goddess.The food-loving Bong has a Durga pujo and pet(tummy) pujo association.While the North Indians fast, we feast!
Mahishasura the Asur king was granted the interesting var(wish) of being un-slayable by any man in heaven or hell.Since men or asur , even in mythology refused to believe a woman could kill him, he became atrocious and started all sorts of evil.
The poor Gods came rushing to Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu(the Trinity and supreme Gods of all God ) to save themselves.The combined energy of the Great gods helped form Durga.All the Gods then gifted her their own favorite weapons to arm her against Mahishasura.Community support is always helpful!Important lesson there.
Now we still believe Maa Durga is Goddess Parvati (Shiva’s wife)who needed to be convinced to leave her happy home to prepare for war.Definitely no work at home options here.The war takes time, so being a mother she prefers to bring her sons and daughters, Laxmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartik with her to earth, just like moms love workplaces with child care, so does Maa Durga.
Durga pujo in Malda: The one I loved!
Throughout this festival, I will share Pujos you must not miss.
Deshapriya park Durga puja
The famous D Park pujo which saw a stampede in 2015, has grown more and more popular.That fateful year the puja was closed off but we managed to catch a glimpse of the stunning work of art through cracks and crevices in the tarpaulin covering the perimeter of the park.
This year they have a Bahubali theme and it’s a work of art.Magnificent and stunning.
Deshapriya Park Location:
Reach this place by Metro.The best place to get off will be Kalighat station.If you are lucky enough to get an auto or taxi you will be dropped right at the footstep.But be aware there is often traffic diversions, close to the area so wear comfortable shoes.You will be walking for a significant distance.
After Deshapriya Park you can check out 3 major pujos within 10 minutes of each other, depending on diversions placed.Tridhara sammilani always a gorgeous pujo with plenty of artwork and special touches to make the trip worth mentioning.Ballygunj cultural and Samajsebi making a beautiful carnival-like atmosphere in Lake road and Lakeview road.The USP here is the ambiance and the transformation into a fairy tale like atmosphere, Bong style!
What should you wear?
Must: Comfortable shoes and clothes which keep you cool.
Pujo means Kolkata rocks the ethnic look.But you can actually wear pretty much anything.There’s a Boutique saree shop right next to the Samajsebi pujo, Indian Silk House Exclusives, which has some gorgeous silk weaves.They have exclusive pieces, so be ready for pockets getting lighter if you plan to pandle hop and shop.
There’s no dearth of eating places.Plenty of street food vendors selling rolls, fries,phuchkas, chaats, Chinese Kolkata style, the Kolkata biriyani immitations and the mandatory ice cream.Other than that .you have two South Indian tiffin homes which are superb but have to wait and timings fixed.
- Ramakrishna Lunch home and Udipi Lunch home.
- Ecstasea: Delicious one of a kind seafood.They have take away too.
- Marco Polo: Continental and Bengali with twists.Proper dining and expensive.
- Tamarind: South Indian but not only the regular fare.They have the Chettinad cuisine in full glory with lip-smacking non-veg options.The problem is during pujo you may be offered a limited selection due to the rush.
- Corner courtyard: Continental.Pretty decor, excellent service, good food.Expensive, small portions may keep you hungry.
Sweet shops plenty: Favourite is Bancharam.Interesting sweet and Bengali savory item will help keep you going if you are in a rush.
Cakes: Favourite cake shop near Menoka cinema hall.
5 Must carry in the bag :
For the look: Lipstick, lip balm, wet wipes and dry tissues(to get the shine off your nose before the pics).
Water bottle, since you will get thirsty.But take sips(you know why!).Glares, if daytime.
Plenty of change and cash to make your life easier.Small eateries and the street food vendors will be unlikely to accept digital payment.
Solar rechargeable power bank: To charge up the phone while traveling, so that the next pandal pics are not missed.
UtsavApp : Claims it will cover 350 major pujos in Kolkata. You will find a guide map to these pujo’s with a backstory about the pujo to keep you updated.
It will also show the location-specific restaurants to keep you munching.
Emergency needs like police stations, hospitals and pay and use toilets are also being updated on this Social festival app.This app is launched in association with Kolkata police
You can upload your own pujo pics and share it on facebook too.It sounds amazing but I will be using it real time to review any glitches.
Download in Google play: It has a 4.3 rating and only available for Android at present.
MondayMommyMoments prompt 39
Share your Navratri stories, memories, and tips for pandal hopping !
This week Dipika is our #MondayMommyMoments winner!Read her post here.
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