It’s that time of the year again. The time when the entire region of Kolkata springs to colour and vibrancy. The streets are laid out with decorations, the air is filled with a deep sense of devotion and the people start their prep for welcoming the goddess into their homes a month prior. Durga puja is celebrated all over India in different traditions and beliefs but with the same foundation and thought behind it. One of the most exciting part about Durga puja is the Pandal shopping and what better place to do this than in Kolkata. You will be immersed in a lot of warmth, happiness and will be left with a lifetime worth of memories and may even come back the next year. Here are the top 20 Pandal options for you to visit when in Kolkata around this time to completely experience these 5 days of carnival:
The idea behind this quirky Pandal creation in the southern region of Kolkata is to take its visitors to a wonderfully engaging fairy land. The insides are very well decorated keeping in mind that the devotees are visually teleported to a fairy land with the main central eye-catching feature being a mystifying and beautifully decorated idol of goddess Durga where the entire setting looks like one big celestial family. Visiting here will definitely be a worth it experience since you will feel like you have walked in to a wonderful land of the goddess herself.
Beliaghata 33 Pally
This is one Pandal which is very contemporary and very distinct from any other traditional Pandal you may have visited in the past or will ever visit in the future. Entering here you will feel like you have stepped into the past times of Kolkata. The entire Pandal which is set up by the community of locals here is designed with different parts of the classic ambassador taxi cab! Right from the entrance to the interiors everything is decorated in the old Kolkata style and will guarantee to catch you by surprise.
This park is probably one of the epicentres for Durga puja Pandal celebrations in Kolkata. No matter where you come from this Pandal visit should not be missed. It has once also featured the tallest Durga idol which stands tall at a height of 88 feet and was a show stopper during that time. ever since then the Pandals Durga Maa idol has always been one of the most awaited ones. This year a 1,000-armed idol of Maa Durga will be seen in action, slaying Mahishasur who is represented by an idol of 40 feet.
Ekdalia Evergreen Pandal
This has to be Kolkata’s most hyped big budget Pandal set up in Kolkata and the puja held here is nothing short of remarkable. You will feel like you have somehow lost your way and reached south India since the Pandal erected here is in the form of Meenakshi Amman Temple and also consists of colourful decorations and other adornments made out of bamboo, coloured thermocol and fiberglass. The idol of Durga Maa here is dressed like the presiding deity in this temple of Madurai.
Hindustan Park Pandal
The people of Kolkata are known for being very deeply in touch with their customs and traditions and this particular Pandal is the perfect representation of the fact that these structures are built keeping in mind a lot of care and concern behind it. The Pandal is dedicated to the Bengali grandmother of the bygone era and everything is created using old spectacle frames, nut crackers and sticks since this grandmother used to tell a lot of stories while Cracking nuts. On display there are also heavily embroidered quilts which are created by the women of Midnapore.
Santosh Mitra Square
This particular square has become adept in hosting the holy Durga puja for a period of more than 80 glorious years. When it comes to Durga puja Pandals in Kolkata this name definitely comes up for its authentic vibe. Their various unique and quirky themes attract a huge crowd gathering. For e.g. Last year the Pandal was of London theme and Durga Maa was seen presiding inside a Buckingham palace Pandal and she was seen wearing a 30 kg Gold Saree. It is a must visit Pandal is you are looking for something different than the usual ones.
College Street Pandal
The college street Pandal is visited by a huge throng of devotees and avid Pandal goers from all over India. It is primarily due to the fact that almost 1.5 km of the street leading up to the Pandal entrance is heavily decorated and beautified with a lot of interesting elements. This tradition’s establishment goes back to 1948 and due to its location right next to the banks of a lake make sit even more peaceful and scenic. Although the street remains jam packed during the puja days it is worth a visit.
Famed for being one of the oldest Pandal establishments in North Kolkata its date goes back to centuries ago. It is very highly revered not only for the locals residing there but also to the people visiting from across the globe to be a part of this deeply mystifying experience. The place’s existence has been here for a long time now and during the holy eve here is one of the most awaited event of the year and is especially a gala time for the kids since they also put up a number of rides and entertainment option.
Samaj Sebi Sangha
Its location right next to Lake view road in southern Kolkata is the best place for experiencing Durga puja in its true and original form. Their authentic way of putting up traditional Pandals is something that has managed to attract a large crowd from across the shores. The Sangha also makes sure to incorporate a social message like various issues, women empowerment, the right way of parenting and other such factors. Being the day of female goddess worship, they also make sure to honour the contributions of females in everyday life that is depicted through their decorations in its Pandal’s interiors.
Ballygunge Cultural Association
This too is one of the most Pandal structures in Kolkata, however it is not very extravagant. This particular place observes a lot of celebration from the locals and although the Pandal’s is humble but the enthusiasm and the zeal displayed here by the devotees. Located right off the southern and Rashbehari Avenue the entire setting here will definitely take you to the bygone era when things were simpler and everything was easier. The organisers take extra care to make sure that the Pandal looks gracefully old and take people on a journey of what it was during those days.
Kumartuli Park Pandal
This Pandal adorns the northern Kolkata part and is located close to Sovabazar ferry and displays the old age charm of the bygone era in a fashionable grandeur and art. The style and architecture designs of this place are very distinct from a typical Pandal and draws the attention of a number of people who come here to offer their prayer to the goddess here. the social and cultural milieu of Kolkata is very well displayed through the temple and manages to provide some seasonal jobs to the poor artisans as their contribution to the society. The idols of Durga Maa made here are also sold in places like Canada, USA, and UK among many other countries.
Ahiritola Sarbojanin Durgotsab
This Pandal is situated close to the Kumartuli park this is the place that organises the Barowari type of Durga puja customs and is also a pioneering effort in the field of offering some of the most memorable nights of this Utsav. People will not just offer their prayer to the idol of the goddess placed inside the intricately created temple they can also be a part of the traditional and musical extravaganza. There are idols of other deities also present there which makes the whole experience extremely fun and spiritual at the same time.
Telengabagan Sarbojanin Durgotsab
The next Pandal in line located against the Ahiritola Pandal is one of the most thought provoking Pandal’s which will make you feel incredible spirituality from the moment you enter. The interiors are very well embellished and the idols of Durga Maa a present in different forms making every inch of the place extremely beautiful. This Pandal is also one of the most highly revered places to visit during the Durga puja Utsav in Kolkata. It depicts not just the diverse history of Kolkata or Bengal but of entire Indian subcontinent as a whole which is quiet a remarkable site inside making a visit here worth every effort.
Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha
If it is a creative Pandal you are looking for with deep cultural roots then this is the Pandal you want to visit. Here you can experience sheer magic and amazing creativity that Kolkata is home of. The Pandal displays a diverse range of abstract art that is very quirky in its own way and catches your attention just from the moment you enter the Pandal. The walls are decorated in unique paintings and colourful designs pave your way towards the idol. Each year they bring this combination of spirituality with art which is very unique anywhere.
Lake Town Adhibasi Brinda
This Pandal Durga puja took place in the year 1963 with the help of the local population here. the unique feature here is that they do not utilise artificial materials to erect a large statue, instead they use mud to create a Durga statue as an ode to respecting the environment since these people are very close to the environment. The Samiti responsible for its organisation ahs for a long time been preserving the social and cultural engaging activities for the society like the maintenance of the parks for children. They also organise various blood donation camps, full medical check-ups and provide financial help to the ones in need during this day.
Sikdar Bagan Sadharan Durga Puja
This Pandal is famed for being the oldest Durga puja celebration that takes place in Kolkata. This place boasts of a unique and a culturally close knit and traditions dating back to centuries ago which can easily be observed during your visit here since it is depicted through the idol ever year. The Pandal is dotted with a number of various idols of goddess Durga which creates a vibrantly spiritual ambience inside the temple which can only be experienced if you visit there.
Nalin Sarkar Street Durgotsab
This particular Pandal decorations is one of the more classically inclined structures in Kolkata which should definitely be visited. The entire Pandal is a true collaboration between nature and the cultural heritage of the past which has managed to be preserved particularly by the Samiti organisers. The unique feature about the idol of the goddess here on display is that it is made out of assorted pottery work which is quite a sight to behold and very different from the rest. The architectural designs of the temple changes every year and in fact keeps getting better.
This particular Pandal is one of the most well thought out and planned in Kolkata. It keeps in mind the importance of wood in everyday life so they construct the Pandal every year in wood. This Pandal is the works of an artist and you will even see some unique wooden ladles, spoons, cricket bats, letter boxes etc. all of which is made out of wood. Even the grand idol of the goddess is made out of wood. Nowhere in Kolkata will you such a statue of the goddess. This is a very creative outlook on the Pandal and it is truly a wonderful experience being there.
Manicktala Chaltabagan Lohapatty Durga Puja
The Pandal of Manicktala has achieved a number of honours and awards for being one of the most grand and prestigious Pandal’s in Kolkata. This Pandal started during the year of 1943 and over the years it has become a focal celebration point in this capital city during the Durga puja festival. No matter how fast they have grown their customs and traditions remain untouched. The festive mood here is very vibrant and the festival mood is elevated further by Dhaki competition, Dhunuchi Dance and Sindoor Khela among a range of other activities. This is a must visit if you are looking for a deeply spiritual experience.