Durga Puja is the greatest festival of West Bengal wherein all religious and social barriers melt with one another. The festival celebrates victory of good over evil as based on mythology, Goddess Durga attained victory by killing demon king Mahishasura. It is commonly believed that the Goddess visits her earthly abode during this time to bless her devotees. Durga Puja holds great significance for the Bengali community.
Today, Durga Puja in Kolkata involves spectacular displays of creative fervour, thanks to the rise of ‘theme pujas’, where everything from the temporary pandal housing the goddess to the idols themselves adhere to a specific theme. Celebrated art designers, lighting experts and sculptors are often roped in to create the pandals, illuminations, and idols, with several organisations handing out awards for all aspects of the festival, from idol to environment-friendliness. For five days beginning with Sasthi and ending with Dashami, Kolkata comes to a standstill as millions of people throng the pandals in their colourful festive finery. The streets are crowded at all hours, and the city takes on the air of a joyful carnival, thanks to the hypnotic rhythms of the ‘dhaak’, a traditional Bengali drum.
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