As Kolkata-loving folks, missing the city’s Durga Puja fervour this year is mood-dampening, to say the least. But we’re here to lift your spirits! Join us on a visual journey through the City of Joy, and recreate the city’s infectious festive vibe straight from your home. By Bayar Jain

Picture this: handcrafted clay Durga idols lining the streets as focussed craftsmen daintily mould her hands to perfection, and echoes of ululudhvani (a roaring and resonating sound produced using a conch shell) sweep the streets as kids run to their mothers dressed in traditional Garad saris, begging for another bite of the delicious asthami bhog. In the distance, an 80’s style tram meanders through the streets, while a classic yellow taxi readies to take you pandal-hopping. That’s Kolkata for you.

While a physical visit to the colourful cultural capital is off the charts this year, travel with us and recreate the celebrations straight from your home.

 

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Each year, craftsman—usually from Kumartuli, a traditional potters’ quarter in northern Kolkata—mould the idols, ensuring each sculpture is given the respect and care She deserves.

 

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More often than not, these craftsmen form a bond with their idols. Ordinarily, these potters spend days—or even months—on one piece.

 

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Each year, pandals compete with one another for the tag of the ‘biggest pandal’ or even the ‘most innovative pandal’.

 

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Theme-based pandals make up for most of the celebrations. Think, technology-inspired idols replete with satellite structures, or even abstract notions such as existence or oneness.

 

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Despite the variation in themes, it’s community-living that ordinarily takes centre-stage every year.

 

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Beats of dhaak and dhunuchi naach along with Sindur Khela on Dashami is celebrations galore. After all, maa aasche (Durga is coming) is reason enough to dance!

 

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Durga Puja, however, is incomplete without diving straight into the delicious bhog. Khichuri, chachari, beguni, chatni, mishti doi, loochi, begun bhaja, aloo dum, rasogolla… the list of dishes on a single plate is endless!

 

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The laid-back trams of the city ferry passengers in full force, letting pandal-hoppers touch base at every spot possible. After all, you only have five days to visit over 50 places!

 

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The classic yellow taxis, too, don the festive spirits as they meander through lit up streets and jostle among crowds aplenty.

 

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On the last day, Maa Durga gleefully floats away in the waters of the city, reminding all that  “aasche bochor abar hobe” (it’ll happen again next year)!

Related: How Kolkata’s Iconic Bonedi Bari Durga Pujas Will Be Celebrated This Year Amidst Pandemic