Durga Puja in Kolkata hits differently! It is that time of the year when the city (in fact, the state) gets decorated in lights and colours to celebrate the biggest festival of the year. This year, the celebration begins on October 20, 2023 and will culminate with Vijaya Dashami on October 25, 2023. But did you know, today the Durga Puja celebration has extended beyond West Bengal (particularly Kolkata)? That's right. Bengali communities in different parts of India (and abroad) come together to organise Durga Puja and celebrate those five days while staying away from home and loved ones. In this article, we will take you through some of the biggest Durga Puja pandals across India, where you can get the essence of the festival to the fullest. Read on.
Top Durga Puja Pandals In Kolkata:
Be it in terms of art, culture, food, or fervour, Durga Puja in Kolkata is all about grandeur. You will find lights, thematic pandals, beautifully made Durga idols, and people all decked up in new clothes at every nook and corner of the city. But if you are visiting Kolkata for the first time and wondering where to start, here are our top picks for you.
1. Mudiali Club:
Mudiali Club started their journey in 1935 and has a long history of 88 years. During the pre-independence period, the club took active participation in the Indian Freedom movement and has been doing Durga Puja ever since. Every year they come up with new themes for their pandals, making the headlines across Bengal.
Address: 37, SR Das Rd, Mudiali, Kalighat, Kolkata
2. Naktala Udayan Sangha:
The theme of this year's Durga Puja at Naktala Udayan Sangha is anti-ragging, highlighting the evils of the ragging culture on educational organisation.
Address: Naktala, Garia, Kolkata
3. Maddox Square:
The puja adda plays an intrinsic part of the celebration. And Maddox Square is a one-stop destination that pandal-hoppers in Kolkata look forward to for those 'adda' sessions with friends and loved ones.
Address: Garcha, Ballygunge, Kolkata
4. Mohammad Ali Park:
This year, the Youth Association of Mohammad Ali Park's is marking their 55th year of celebration with the theme Kedarnath Temple. Maa Durga and her entourage will be welcomed in the serene surroundings of the holy temple's recreation.
Address: Chittaranjan Ave, Calcutta University, College Square, Kolkata
5. Lake Town Sreebhumi Sporting Club:
Every year Lake Town Sreebhumi Sporting Club is known for mesmerising people with their gorgeous pandals. Keeping up with the tradition, the organisers, this year, will transcend you to Disneyland, through their beautifully done conceptual pandal.
Address: Lake Town Sreebhumi Sporting Club, Kolkata
Central Park Durga Puja, Kalyani:
Situated around 1.5 hours from Kolkata, Kalyani over the years has emerged as a top spot for pandal hoppers during Durga Puja - Central Park Durga Puja (popularly referred to as CPDP) being the highlight of the town. It is considered the oldest Durga Puja in Kalyani township and has been attracting people across ages, and across communities for those never-ending 'adda' sessions during those five days.
Address: B8, Block B, Kalyani, Nadia
Kalyani Luminous Club, ITI More:
Luminous Club in Kalyani ITI More made the headlines in 2022 with their extravagant Petronas Twin Towers-themed puja. This year, they are back with the replica of the iconic Grand Lisboa, nestled in Macau. Besides the grand Pandal and beautifully made Goddess Durga and her entourage, you will also get to enjoy a grand fare, situated around the pandal.
Address: B9, Block B, Kalyani, Nadia
Top Durga Puja Pandals In Delhi-NCR:
1. Chittaranjan Park Mela Ground Durga Puja:
Rightly referred to as mini-Kolkata, Chittaranjan Park in South Delhi offers you every essence of Bengali culture to the fullest. You can also get to see Durga Puja organized at every corner of CR Park, but the major attraction remains the Mela Ground near Market 2. Alongside a beautifully made pandal, you can also enjoy music fests and dance programs organised during the course of five days.
Address: Mela Ground, Near Market 2, Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi
2. Delhi Kali Bari Durga Puja:
Considered to be one of the oldest Durga Pujas organised in Delhi, it is celebrated with utmost fervour. During the course of five days, you will find thousands of devotees flocking to the temple to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga.
Address: Kali Bari Marg, Mandir Marg (Near Gole Market & Birla Temple), Delhi
3. Matri Mandir In Safdarjung Enclave:
Matri Mandir is an established and reputed socio-religious institution in the Delhi NCR Bengali community today. Every year, they organise grand Durga Puja and have gained huge fame among the Delhiites.
Address: Matri Mandir Rd, Block B 2, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi
4. Delhi Durga Puja Samiti At Kashmiri gate:
Delhi Durga Puja Samiti, also known as the Kashmere Gate Durga Puja is one of the oldest Durga Puja (festival) of Delhi. It started in the year 1910 at Roshanpura Kali Mandir near Nai Sarak as "Baroyari Puja" (Public Festival).
Address: 22-A, Sham Nath Marg, Indraprastha College, Civil Lines, Delhi,
5. Mayur Vihar Kali Bari Durga Puja:
Kalibari in Mayur Vihar is yet another place that has been hosting Durga Puja for quite some time. People get pulled to their puja pandal because of the fantastic 'bhog' or prasad that they serve to the visitors in the afternoon.
Address: Mayur Vihar Phase I, Pocket 2, Mayur Vihar, New Delhi
Top Durga Puja Pandals In Mumbai:
1. Bengali Club's Durgotsav, Shivaji Park:
One of the oldest Durga Pujas in Mumbai, the Shivaji Park Bengal Club puja also happens to be one of the biggest. The idols here are made using eco-friendly materials such as mud and special water-soluble, chemical-free paints.
Address: Veer Savarkar Marg, Shivaji Park, Dadar West, Mumbai
2. Tulip Star Durgotsav, Juhu:
Organised by the North Bombay Durga Puja Charitable Trust, this pandal is known to be patronised by celebrities, especially by the families of actors Kajol and Rani Mukherji.
Address: Golden Tobacco Limited, Tobacco House, S.V. Road, Vile Parle (West), Mumbai
3. Lokhandwala Durgotsav, Andheri:
Headed by the Lokhandwala Durgotsav Committee, this is one of the most famous pandals in the city. Bollywood playback singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya is the president of the organising team and this place is known to be frequented by celebrities.
Address: Lokhandwala Durga Puja Ground, Andheri (West), Mumbai
4. Aamra Prabashi Durgotsav Thane:
The lake city's biggest Durga Puja Fest by scale, Aamra Prabashi Durgotsav 2023 will be spread out over an impressive 62,000 sq ft area in the heart of Thane's largest township, Hiranandani Estate. Bucking the popular trend of pop-culture-inspired pandals, Aamra Prabashi's Puja this year captures the changing face of Bengali culture with glimpses of traditional Bengal amalgamated with the contemporary face of Bengal.
Address: Hiranandani Estate, Thane West
5. Thakur Village Durgotsav, Kandivali:
Organised by the Thakur Village Bengali Association, this Puja pandal is set up for five days and is known for its grand shola (an art native to West Bengal) idol and authentic bhog, served to all the devotees.
Address: A-22, Jinal Apartment, beside Gokul Garden, Thakur Complex, Kandivali (East), Mumbai
Top Durga Puja Pandals In Bangalore:
Over the years Bengalis in Bangalore have been organising grand Durgotsav in different parts of the city, with the highlights being:
1. Whitefield Cultural Association:
If you are staying in Whitefield and trying to avoid the excess traffic, then visit the Pandal organized in your vicinity. Whitefield Cultural Association celebrates these five days with Anandamela (fair) and various cultural performances.
Address: Inner Circle Ground, Whitefield, Bangalore
2. Prayas Bengali Cultural Association:
Looking for a homely vibe during those five days of Durga Puja? If yes, then visit this Pandal at Rammurthy Nagar. They are all about love, and brotherhood and give you a family away from home. From various cultural performances to delicious bhog and more, here every element is organised well to make the festival a memorable one. And how can we forget the Ma Durga idol?! Prayas is known to get the best Ma Durga idol in the city.
Address: Prayas Bengali Cultural Association, Ramamurthy Nagar
3. Jayamahal Durga Puja:
Jayamahal Durga Puja is touted to be one of the oldest celebrations in Bangalore. In fact, it is said to be the only themed puja in the city. Besides the puja celebration, you will get to enjoy various cultural programs from Sasthi to Navami, alongside some sinful indulgences.
Address: Ladies Club Premises, near Jayamahal Park
4. Bengalee Association:
This organisation was established in 1959 and has been organising Durga Puja for years now. It brings communities together to enjoy the festival with prayers, cultural events, food, and more.
Address: 1A, Assaye Road, near Ulsoor Lake
5. Electronic City Cultural Association:
With bhog, various Bengal-special food counters and dandiya on the Navami night, this Durga Puja pandal needs to be on your list. And yes, do not forget to experience the aarti here.
Address: Elite Feather Convention Centre, Hosur Road, Electronic City
Top Durga Puja Pandals In Hyderabad:
With the increasing number of Bengalis in Hyderabad, you will find Durga Puja being celebrated with utmost grandeur in different parts of the city. Some of our top picks are:
1. Hyderabad Bangali Samity: organised at Telangana Kala Bharathi, NTR Stadium in Domalguda
2. Cyberabad Bangali Association: orgaised at Naren Palace, Miyapur
3. Prabashi Socio-Cultural Association: organised at Saptapadi Function Hall in Nizampet
4. Hyderabad Kalibari Durga Puja: organised at Hyderabad Kalibari in Vivekanand Puram, Sainikpuri
5. Utsab Cultural Association: organised at National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management, Gachibowli.
About Somdatta SahaExplorer- this is what Somdatta likes to call herself. Be it in terms of food, people or places, all she craves for is to know the unknown. A simple aglio olio pasta or daal-chawal and a good movie can make her day.