Some unknown facts of Kolkata’s biggest festival

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Kolkata’s biggest festival is undoubtedly Durga Puja, which celebrates the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga. While Durga Puja is widely known and celebrated, there are a few lesser-known facts about this grand festival. Here are some unknown facts about Kolkata’s biggest festival:

  1. Origins: Durga Puja in Kolkata has its roots in the 18th century when the zamindars (landlords) of Bengal started celebrating the festival in their homes. It gained prominence during the British Raj when community-based Durga Puja celebrations began.
  2. Artistic Excellence: Kolkata’s Durga Puja is renowned for its elaborate and artistic decorations. The festival showcases some of the most intricate and innovative idol designs and artistic themes. Skilled artisans and craftsmen spend months creating these stunning idols.
  3. Temporary Structures: The festival is celebrated by constructing temporary structures called pandals to house the idols of Goddess Durga. These pandals are often made using eco-friendly materials like bamboo, jute, and clay. Each year, new and unique designs are created to captivate visitors.
  4. Marquee Awards: To recognize the exceptional craftsmanship and creativity displayed in the pandals, various awards are presented. The most prestigious one is the “Sharad Samman” awarded by the Kolkata Police for the best-decorated and well-managed puja pandal.
  5. Nighttime Celebrations: Kolkata’s Durga Puja celebrations extend well into the night, with a lively atmosphere that is unmatched. The city stays awake throughout the night, and the streets are filled with people participating in cultural performances, including music, dance, and theater.
  6. Dhunuchi Dance: Dhunuchi is a traditional Bengali dance performed during Durga Puja. It involves balancing an incense burner called dhunuchi in one hand and swirling it gracefully while dancing to the beats of traditional dhak (drums). It is a unique and mesmerizing sight.
  7. Food Galore: Durga Puja is not just about worship; it is also a gastronomic extravaganza. The streets of Kolkata during this festival are lined with numerous food stalls and vendors offering a wide variety of delectable Bengali delicacies. From traditional sweets like rasgulla and sandesh to savory snacks like puchka (pani puri) and kathi rolls, there’s something for everyone.
  8. Cultural Extravaganza: Durga Puja is a celebration of art, culture, and heritage. Alongside the religious rituals, the festival features a range of cultural programs, including music concerts, dance performances, drama, recitations, and art exhibitions. Renowned artists and performers from all over India participate in these events.
  9. Social Impact: Durga Puja serves as a platform for social interaction and community bonding. It brings people from different backgrounds and communities together, fostering a sense of unity and camaraderie. Many puja committees actively engage in charitable activities and social welfare initiatives during this time.
  10. Immersion Ritual: The festival culminates with the immersion of the idol of Goddess Durga in the river or other water bodies. This ritual, known as Visarjan, symbolizes the departure of the goddess and her return to her celestial abode. The immersion procession is a grand affair, accompanied by music, dance, and fervent participation from the devotees.

These lesser-known facts highlight the rich cultural heritage and grandeur of Durga Puja, making it a unique and cherished festival in Kolkata.

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