In Photos: Durga Puja in Kolkata Through A Bengali’s Eyes

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Let the Durga Pujo (mind the pronunciation) hangover in me take you through the throbbing intensity of the busy streets and the historical narrow by lanes which merge in a miscellany of historical and cultural diversity of the city. Emerging from this land of nostalgia, are its people who are often seen and heard unanimously breaking into avid descriptions of the rich cultural heritage. Apart from that there is always the discussion on the vibrant festival(s) which seem to initiate endless conversations. No, we’re not talking about the city- Kolkata, we’re talking about the feeling quite commonly known as Kolkata, the feeling of hot roshogolla(mind the pronunciation again) being poured in your soul.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                           Picture Courtesy of Flickr
                                                                                                                                                            

                               A city which will spoil you with choices,

                              It is every kind of festivity that the city rejoices.

                            In a state of euphoria, high-spirits and glee of sorts,

                           And darling, it’s more than a chaos to your thoughts.

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                                                                                                                                          Picture Courtesy of Palsmaniaa Kolkata 

With the world’s largest socio-religious-cultural festival or should I say the world’s greatest street art festival- Durga Mahotsav coming to an end, it takes a lot to hold back the tears, the grief and the agony, of the festival that is so close to a Bengali’s heart coming to an end. But then again as we know that all good things come to an end, all we can do is embrace a warm goodbye and cherish the memories for until another year.

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Durga Puja and Kolkata are complementary and somewhat like synonyms and I’m sure Google won’t deny that. It’s a lot like they show in the movies ft. the yellow taxis of course but only a resident of Calcutta can do true justice to its meaning. The Sparrow has taken you through Behind The Scenes of Durga Puja( check it out now, if you already haven’t). Now let it guide your way through the well lit and jam packed streets of Kolkata during the festive season.

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                                                                                                                       Picture courtesy of About.com

With the homecoming game running strong in my veins, the sight from “high above, oh the world so high” indeed was breathtaking.

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                                                                                                                                                  Picture courtesy of Palsmaniaa Kolkata

Whilst on my way back home, a few realizations shadowed my mind. Kolkata has been the same throughout the years, its vibrancy, its culture, ethnicity, customs and traditions. In the 21st century where our dictionary definition of comfort is technology, Kolkata seems to find peace in its old customs and way of life. In a forever changing world, Kolkata still takes the tram back to the time where it’s easy to keep pace with the city’s heritage and traditions.

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                                                                                                                                                                     Picture Courtesy of Nikhil Dave

As the red signal turned to green and I merely sat through the strategic location of the pandals, thus successfully ensnaring all my attention, I realized how much this festival means to the city, to the people.

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                                                                                                                                                         Picture Courtesy of Nikhil Dave

Despite the clammy and sweat-dripping weather, once again people thronged the pandals in large numbers with friends, family and lovers. Clay, bottles, glasses, jute, metal scraps, thermo cols, hard-work, effort and so much creativity that goes into making of the marquees. Something and the only thing that has changed over the years is the representation of the gods and goddesses and the context in which they’re placed. From drawing perfect parallels with the Hindu mythology to a fun-filled portrayal of today’s age of pop-culture thus catering to every cohort. It’ll be an injustice to not talk about the Durga Pujos organized by various families in their homes which as a part of tradition(of 100 years to say the least) remains the same over the years, be it the rituals or idols. Change in case of the house pujos are meant only for the people and their attires of course.

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The echo of the drum beats(call it dhaak) and chants create an atmosphere that words cannot fathom. The long queues of the inquisitive spectators never fail to portray their devotion and we can always suggest that the festivity has still not lost its mystic aura.

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                                                                                                                           Picture courtesy of Sourya Chakraborty

As we age every year, we only realize how our lives have changed since the previous year. For people in this city, Durga Pujo is more than a festival, it’s a metric of measuring lives. It is only during these five days that we realize the value of the term – “temporary” and that some things are meant to be that way.

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                                                                                                                                                     Picture courtesy of Sourya Chakraborty

With the immersion of the idol, as the sound of drums slowly disappears from the air and sadness pervades in the atmosphere. We see the well-lit roads being reduced to just street lights and the pandals being reduced to nothing but a bare framework of bamboo draped in cloth, it becomes difficult to say adieu.

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                                                                                                                              Picture courtesy of Flickr

 

But what we learn is Durga Pujo for Kolkata is a constant, a forever- for as long as we want ‘forever’ to exist. It instills in you the positivity, the energy, the spark and the happiness in your life. It leaves us motivated, refreshed and rejuvenated, of course over-weight with those delicious food stalls round the corner. And not to forget it leaves us flipping the calendar pages of the year 2017 and for those who’ve not yet experienced Durga Puja, make sure to add it to your bucket list!

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                                                                                                                      Picture courtesy of Sourya Chakraborty

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