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Last Updated Saturday January 21 2017 12:50 AM IST

Five reasons to head to Kolkata during Durga Puja

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Five reasons to head to Kolkata during Durga Puja Decking up the goddess during Durga Puja. Photo: Istock

You love crowds. You love festivities and good food. What are you waiting for? This is your last chance to head out to Kolkata and take part in the Durga Puja festivities. We give you a quick guide on what you should not miss if you are heading out to the City of Joy

1) Pandal hopping and the famous ones

Five reasons to head to Kolkata during Durga Puja From one of the many pandals in town. Photo: Istock

There is no Durga Puja without the pandals. Pandals are the halls or places where they put up a display of the goddess. And at times, they are built around themes. It is here that people gather for the songs, the dance and the fun activities. Pandals pop up across the city during this festive season, but there are a lot of famous ones.

This year, Golaghata Sarbojoni Puja is themed after the postage stamps and letterboxes, while Beliaghata 33 Pally pandal is driven by nostalgia - the yellow taxis which were the icons of the street. The Kabiraj Bagan Sarbajanin Durgotsab organizers have taken the idea of ‘Maitrayee’ (friendship) as its theme to decorate their pandal and the Deshapriya Park Puja has an idol with a 'Hajaar Hath (thousand hands) and a demon Mahishasur which is 40 ft tall. Goes without saying that these famous pandals will be very crowded too!

2) The food

Five reasons to head to Kolkata during Durga Puja Food. Photo: Getty Images

A foodie? You just cannot miss the amazing food at almost every pandal. From chats to chowmien and chops, from sweets to biriyanis, the array of dishes will confuse you. And if you are someone who sticks to vegetarian food during vrats, you will be surprised that non-vegetarian food is served at the pandals. Bengal is famous for its sweets. Mishti Doi is our personal favorite.

3) Night out and style statements

Five reasons to head to Kolkata during Durga Puja From a pandal. Photo: Getty Images

It is that part of the year when the City of Joy gets an extra shot of adrenaline. Pandal hopping has its own charm, especially when you meet old friends. For women, it is that time of the year to dress up in all their finery. Don't be surprised if you see very fashionable people at the pandals.

4) Soak in the culture

Five reasons to head to Kolkata during Durga Puja From a pandal. Photo: Getty Images

Kolkata has, for a long long time been a melting pot of cultures. The British Council has tied up with a couple of local communities for puja celebrations for a unique Globe Theatre's Complete Walk - or 37 Shakespeare plays on several screens. Each of the pandals hosts a variety of shows - from dance to music gigs and stand-up comedy performances

5) The fairs, the sounds and the feel

Five reasons to head to Kolkata during Durga Puja From a pandal. Photo: Istock

It is unique. There are puja pandals where ever there is a Bengali. But, as they would say, there is nothing like going back to one of those Baroari pujos or dancing to dhak in the city. There is a bit of nostalgia, there are friendships made, kept and broken. It is time for families to be together. Go shopping at one of those melas, take in the cacophony of sounds and just give yourself up to the festive feel around you. And then, walk with the goddess when she is taken out for the immersion. And wait for another year for the festival to come again.

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