Saturday, October 27, 2012

Durga puja 2012, North Kolkata

Ma Durga
My sister and I toured some parts of North and South Kolkata on panchami night.

This was my first experience of pandal hopping the whole night long. This experience was unique.I did not feel sleepy, and there were quite a few slightly crazy people like us pandal hopping as well. And to think that officially durga puja had not started as yet. It was still panchami!

I am sharing some of the North Kolkata Durga puja pandals that we visited. More to follow.

Durga puja pandal
Baghbazar, North
Durga pandal, Baghbazar

Durga idol
Pandal decorations

Chaltabagan, Durga puja
pandal, 2012
Pandal decorations

Durga idol, Chaltabagan
Work on the pandal
at Chaltabagan
Durga puja

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Kashi Bose lane, Kolkata, Durga puja 2012

This beautiful, gorgeous Durga puja idol and pandal (2012) at Kashi Bose lane, North Kolkata, mesmerized me. It feels like out of a dream sequence. What creativity!


Monday, October 22, 2012

Shubha Mahaashtami

Durga Idol at the Goswami Rajbari,
Serampore, West Bengal
Today is Ashtami, one of the most auspicious days of Durga puja. It is believed that Ma Durga killed the demon mahishasura on Ashtami. I can’t believe that it is Ashtami already! Just two more days and Durga pujas will be over:(

I will continue with the Bihar trip report after a couple or more posts of the beautiful Durga puja pandals and idols. There is so much to share!.

I have been out all night pandal hopping on 19th, and on the 21st I went visiting the Raj baris in Hooghly district in the outskirts of Kolkata, some of them celebrating four hundred years of Durga puja.It is unbelievable how much of history is tucked away in these traditional durga pujas in Hooghly district of West Bengal.

I will begin by posting some pictures of the Goswami Rajbari of Serampore in Hooghly. I just love these old houses!

Goswami Rajbari Serampore
Courtyard of the Rajbari

Rooms around the courtyard
Beautiful carving on
the pillar

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Kash phool and Durga puja

Kash Phool
Ah-Kash! The appearance of Kans grass, Kash Phool (in Bengali) feels heavenly, not only because it so lovely, the white against the green, but it is also a happy reminder that the festive season is about to begin!
Kash phool brings with it a change in weather, it starts to get a bit pleasant after the monsoonal downpour. Earlier, with so many open fields, one could get a glimpse of Kash any where, it is getting very difficult now with almost all the green spaces being taken away for real estate constructions :(
With Mahalaya just two days away, Kolkata is in frenzy, with pandals gearing up to complete the decorations, people doing their last minute shopping; this weekend being the last weekend before Durga puja begins. It is true that it is almost impossible to move anywhere without getting stuck in traffic jams, but the mood is so positive, and optimistic that I don't mind .In fact, I don't want to go out of Kolkata during this time. I will miss it too much.
I can't wait for Durga puja to begin so that I can get to see those wonderful pandals which are a final word of creativity in Kolkata during this time.
You can check out some of the 2011 durga puja pandals in kolkata here:-

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bihar, the land of Viharas

Entrance of Patna museum
I took advantage of the longish weekend last week. Took an off on the 1st and got a four day break! I did utilize it pretty well. Went off on a hurricane trip to Bihar. Managed to pack in a lot of places. It was quite a hectic but exciting trip. We covered over 900 kms in three days. We visited, Patna, Gaya, Bodh Gaya, Rajgir, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Kesariya, Vaishali, and Danapur!

I can't believe that we actually covered so many places. We saved a lot of time because we flew from Kolkata to Patna. Our friend in Patna had booked an AC car that would be with us for the next three days. We started touring from the moment we landed in Patna! One piece of advice; It is best to avoid traveling in Bihar during summer .It is much too hot. Thank God for the AC car, I don't think we would have managed to do so many things without getting dehydrated! If you are thinking of traveling to Bihar, March is the best time to travel to Bihar.
Museum building

Day 1- After landing in Patna, we went straight to the Patna museum, then to Kumrahar, which has excavations from ancient Pataliputra, the capital of the Mauryan emperors, finally to Barabar caves (oldest rock-cut caves in India) in Jehanabad district near Gaya. Our agenda was to cover all of this on day 1, and stay the night in Bodh Gaya.

Patna museum was quite nice, I was impressed with the collection. The other interesting thing that we found out, was that the sacred ashes of Buddha, is in Patna museum. You need a special permission to view it, but you can only see the container though. The museum guide explained where it was found, and till date the ashes are in the same sacred container as it was found. There is plenty to see in the museum, but we did not have that much time so we saw certain sections, and moved on to our next destination. I will continue with my trip report in my next post.

An ancient doorway at the museum