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Kolkata during the Durga Puja festival

Kolkata during the Durga Puja festival

€950 per person

Photo-tour of Kolkata (Calcutta) during the festivities of Durga Puja, the biggest festival of West Bengal. Visit of the ephemeral temples (pandals) as well as the Bonedis, the old aristocratic houses of the city.

The Durga Puja Festival or Durgotsava is the largest festival of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). On this occasion, the city is up all night, bathed in lights and embellished with temporary temples all vying to be the most inventive and creative. Durga-Puja is not only a religious festival; its social and cultural sides are important too. All social classes join in equally with the celebrations. 


As with most festivals in India, the origins of Durga Puja lie in Hindu mythology. The demon king Mahishasura had become invincible thanks to a favour granted him by Lord Shiva, no male could defeat him. He is also called Mahishasuramardini (the killer of Mahishasura). To put an end to the terror he was causing, the gods pooled all their powers and gave birth to Shakti (the primordial force) in the form of the goddess Durga who, not being male, was able to defeat and kill Mahishasura.The battle symbolises the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.


The ‘Durga-Puja’ festival lasts for five days and is also known as Shashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami.


During this tour, we will visit the ‘Bonedis’, the old aristocratic houses of Kolkata where we will attend the ceremony of ‘Bodhon’, which symbolically brings the Durga statue to life and marks the start of the festival and the ritual of ‘Boron’.  It is the farewell ceremony of Durga (the close of the festival).  Between these two times, we will visit many different places of interest within the city as well as many ‘pandals’, the splendid ephemeral temples, which mark out the city during all the festival.

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Day 1

Arrival in Kolkata

Day 2

Kolkata Bodhon puja

In late afternoon, we will take you to one of Kolkata's 'bonedis' to attend the ceremony of 'Bodhon' or 'Akaal Bodhan', which gives life to the statue and marks the beginning of the rituals dedicated to the goddess Durga. A unique moment in the sumptuous old aristocratic houses. Overnight in Kolkata.
Day 3

Kolkata & Pandals Tour

After breakfast, we will go to the 'Ghat Mullick' on the banks of the Howrah River to stroll and take beautiful shots of the largest flower market in Kolkata and Asia where nearly 2,000 flower vendors are busy; a feast of colours and fragrances. We will then go to the tomb of Mother Teresa who worked all her life with the poorest. We will also visit the beautiful Nakhoda Mosque and the adjoining buzzing 'Burra Bazar', one of the largest wholesale markets in India. In the evening, we will admire other pandals. Overnight Kolkata.
Day 4

Kolkata & Pandals Tour (continuation)

After breakfast, we will leave for Belur Math via the Howrah Bridge. Belur Math is home to the Ramakrishna Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, one of his closest disciples. They are both considered great teachers of wisdom. The 160,000 m2 of Belur Math includes temples dedicated to Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swami Vivekananda where their relics are preserved. The main temple merges the Hindu, Christian and Islamic styles, symbol of the unity of all religions. After visiting Belur Math, we will go to the famous Dakshineswar temple which houses the deity Bhavatarini, an avatar of the Hindu goddess Kali. On our way back, we will visit the 'marble palace' and the Rabindra Bharati Museum, the ancestral home of the poet-writer Rabindranath Tagore. In the evening visit of other pandals. Overnight in Kolkata.
Day 5

Kolkata & Pandals Tour

Departure for the Jain district of Kolkata. We will visit the Paresnath Temple, a jewel inlaid with mirrors and whose main idol has the front set with real diamonds, then we will wander the streets all around. Free time. In the evening visit of new pandals. Overnight in Kolkata.
Day 6

Ceremony of Boron, farewell to goddess Durga

The festival ends in the evening of Dashami with the ceremony of 'Boron' which means 'welcome'; it is a kind of farewell to Durga, while begging her to come back next year. The women dressed in red sari and adorned with their finest gold jewels come to say goodbye to the goddess while making different offerings to her. Then comes the moment of 'Visarjan' or the immersion of the deity in the water. The deity is first taken in procession accompanied by the rhythm of percussion; the faithful then shout "Bolo Durga mai-ki jai! "(Glory to Mother Durga!) Or" Asche Bochor abar hobe! (This will start again next year!) ... and the statue is immersed in the Howrah River. Overnight in Kolkata and end of the trip. Looking forward to meeting you again. Jai Mata Di!
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