Best Places to Visit During Durga Puja in India
Durga Pooja is not a local festival of West Bengal. This prime festival is celebrated throughout the country, with equal importance. This is an annual Hindu festival celebrated during September or October.
This festival is celebrated with many variations depending on the region. The colonial era is said to have imparted many changes to the festival. This festival is celebrated throughout the country. However, Durga Pooja is at the peak celebrated at a hand-full of regions only. This festival is celebrated in many other countries too, like Bangladesh, Nepal, China and others. Why is India, the best place to enjoy this festival?
This article will talk in detail about the top places to visit in India to enjoy Durga Pooja.
1. Kolkata, West Bengal
With no doubt, this is the prime place of this celebration. The locals believe that the Goddess return to them, like a married woman returning to her paternal home for a vacation. They create pandals on the roadside. Pandals are more like a rural tent made with bamboo sticks and are decorated well.
Inside the pandal, you can find a beautiful statue of Lord Durga. Celebrations and rituals take place for all nine days. If you visit the pandals, you can enjoy delicacies, which are served to the deity. Top places of Kolkata to enjoy this celebration are Siliguri, Jalpaiguri, Birbhum and Bankura.
Pandal surfing is just a part of the celebration. You can visit artisans to watch them create these grand idols. The day on which the eyes of the idols are drawn is celebrated with rituals. You can buy your own Durga deity as a souvenir from the masters. The markets will be filled with souvenirs and rituals articles. Try to have some shopping experience in the street shops. Best place to visit is the stalls near major temples.
Also Read : 20 Exciting Places to Visit in Kolkata
2. Ahmedabad, Gujarat
This land of Mahatma Gandhi celebrates this festival with fireworks. However, they celebrate the festival to remember Lord Ram killing over Raavan. You can find fireworks throughout the night. Many stages will be erected to perform drama, dance or songs to recite the life of Ram, struggle of Sita and the victory of Ram. You can find the traditional dance of Dandiya in several places during this festival.
Top places to enjoy a cultural vacation here is Laxmi Vilas Palace, Navlakhi Ground, Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway and others. By the end of the night, a large Raavan structure is made with hay and fireworks. A person dressed as Lord Ram, lights up the structure and people watch the demon burn into ashes with spiritual bliss.
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3. Mumbai, Maharashtra
The celebration of this festival in Mumbai started by Bengalis who stayed in Mumbai. Since the Bengalis could not get to their home for a nine-day celebration, they started their own celebration in the foreign land. Soon, Mumbai become one of the top places to celebrate Durga Pooja.
Therefore, the celebration will be quite similar to that of West Bengal. However, you can find a little modernity in this celebration. Many celebrities visit top pandals in the city and lavishing dishes are served to the God and to the visitors. Yes, Mumbai is famous for its cuisine. If you wish to enjoy many traditional dishes during your trip, a seasonal special itinerary of Travelogy India for the foodie in you. You can find many traditional song performances by top singers, in certain pandals. Learn about the top pandals to visit, if you are wishing to enjoy a lavishing time, here. The attraction of Mumbai is not just related to this celebration but there is much more to experience.
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For Mumbai Tour Packages
4. Katra, Jammu and Kashmir
Yes, Hindu festivals are celebrated in this region, too. The celebration takes place in the top temple of the state, Vaishno Devi ji Temple. There will be a simple celebration for nine days. The temple is located, around 13 km from the base camp. The entire path will be illuminated with colorful lights and you can always hear chanting.
5. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
This region celebrates this festival as the victory of Lord Ram over Raavan. You can find small children dressed up as Lord Ram, Sita, Laxman and Hanuman during this celebration. Numerous drama sessions will be staged to recite several stories of Ramayan. You can find many sages visiting Varanasi, during this celebration. This city is famous for its endless ritual during this festival. However, the place becomes extremely crowded during the festival.
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Also Read : Top 11 Things to Experience in Varanasi
6. Guwahati, Assam
Assam celebrates the festival with pandals, just like other parts of the country. However, Assam takes it to the next level by organizing fairs and exhibition. If you visit Assam during this celebration, you are in for a shopping frenzy. Top items to buy from these stalls are toys, decorative items, garments, Chinese products and so on.
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7. South India
If you were planning to visit South India, you would be enjoying Dusshera as Saraswati Pooja. This festival is celebrated with a cascading stairs of dolls, displayed for nine days. Local people appreciate tourists and others visiting their house for watching their collection of dolls. These dolls comprises of miniature deity, mythological characters and modern structures. Usually, these dolls are made of ceramic or clay. During the eight day, people worship the tools they used in their day-to-day life. This includes vehicles, stationery items, weapons, machinery and much more. You might not be able to see many pandals in the southern India.
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Delhi celebrates this festival as Ram’s victory. You can find many grand dramas about the story of Lord Ram. Children are dressed as mythological characters during this celebration. The best of all is the end of the celebration, in which a huge Ravaneffigy is burnt down as a symbol of destruction of evil.
The best place to visit to enjoy the celebration is Ramlila Maidan, where a large Raavan structure is burnt after a grand dance and music show explaining Ramayan. The Red Fort region and Subhash Maidan are other celebration regions to enjoy a lavishing time. When it comes to tourism, these are not the only destinations to enjoy in the city.
Also Read : Top Festivals in Delhi
Suggested Tour :
Himachal Pradesh has its own way of celebrating the festival. It is hard to find pandals during this celebration, in this region. However, you can find processions and other celebrations, which take place in Dhapur Maidan of Kullu Valley. The victory of Ram is celebrated for ten days in this region. After ten days of gala, the ritual ends with burning a piece of wood and a bunch of grass after the procession reaches River Beas. It indicates the incident of Lanka burning down.
Suggested Tour :
This city is famous for its exclusive menu of bhog served in the pandal. Apart from the delicacies, the pandals are famous for cultural programs like dance, music, drama and others. The best place to visit to enjoy this festival in the city is Mulshi Dam, Aga Khan Palace, Dagadusheth Ganapati temple, Malshej ghat and others. The best of all delicacies is the nabami bhog.
This festival is dedicated to the battle of Durga against a demon, Mahishasura. It is said that the battle lasted for nine days and at the last, the good won over the evil. The day of Vijayadashami is celebrated in many regions as the day, Lord Ram won over Raavan. No matter which primary epic story is celebrated, the festival is an indication that good always prevails over evil.
The nine days of this festival is not an arbitrary number. On each day, a form of Durga is celebrated for a specific reason.
Day 1 – The goddess is celebrated as Bhrahmacharini. The rituals are focused on gaining blissfulness and eternal peace.
Day 2 – Durga is celebrated as a warrior goddess with ten arms, riding on a fierce lion. The rituals of the day are focused on overcoming evil forces in day-to-day lives.
Day 3 – Durga is worshipped as Kushmanda, the creator of universe. The rituals are focused on well-being of family.
Day 4 – Durga is worshipped as the daughter of the mighty Himalayas to provide required strength and stamina.
Day 5 – Durga is worshipped as Skanda Mala, the chief of warrior. This form of goddess holds an infant in her hand. The rituals of the day are focused on increasing fertility and to protect offspring of the family.
Day 6 – Katyayani is celebrated on this day. It is a fierce form of Durga and the divinity of the form offers courage to those who worship her.
Day 7 – Kalratri is worshipped with white attire, in a context to pacify the ferocious goddess and to bring peace to the world.
Day 8 – Durga is pacified and takes the form of Maha Gauri. Praying to Maha Gauri will impart prosperity, intelligence, peace and it is the hope of fresh start.
Day 9 – Durga attains the form of Siddhidatri and provides a state of happiness to all.
Many people observe fasting during Navratri and restrict themselves to certain food items. These food items are served to the deity and are served to the visitors. Top dishes to enjoy in a traditional pandal are
- Potato dishes
- Banana chips
- Makhane ki Sabzi
- Fruits and juices
This festival symbolizes the victory of positive force over the negative one. Among all the religious reasons to celebrate the festival, the main aim of the festival is to create a peaceful mindset and to get a fresh start. These nine days bring families together; strangers become friends in the pandal, people share delicacies, enjoy their culture with performances and grace the happiness of the festival and tradition of the land.
- Pilgrimage activities
- Watching unique rituals
- Visiting pandals
- Enjoying cultural activities and dramas
- Enjoying seasonal delicacies
- Take part in processions
- Witness traditional costumes
- Many regions conduct fairs and exhibition for a shopping spree
Similar Festival : Diwali Festival in India: Visiting the Festival of Lights
Also Read : Most Popular Winter Festivals in India