Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DURGA PUJA IN KOLKATA


Goddess Durga and part of her pantheon decked in the traditional 'dhaker saj' (silvery finery)
The azure sky edged with fleecy white clouds and a little nip in the air mark the advent of autumn – this is the season for Bengal’s most popular festival, Durga Puja. 

Durga, the demon slaying Goddess, comes on a visit every year for four days to fill our earth with abundance of happiness. She is accompanied by her divine children--  Laxmi, Sarawati, Kartik and Ganesh. A consort of Lord Shiva and an icon of female power, she finds mention in our scriptures, epics and a variety of Indian texts. She's worshiped under various appellations across the country. 

Today, Durga puja is a socio-cultural event that has transcended religious contours. It is no longer limited to its literal meaning, ‘worship’. Theme portrayals have taken over the traditional (sabekiyana) designs. The new craze is to showcase the idols, the design and decoration of the pandals and create an ambiance to win various awards. Though a few North Kolkata organizers are still holding on to the traditional style.

But, for an individual like me, it is an annual break from the normal-day routine, a time to reconnect with friends, relatives and be a part of the collective euphoria...The deafening strains of montro ( chants), dhak ( drum) beats drumming in perfect synchronization with the smell of dhuno ( incense) and shiuli (night jasmine) flowers--- take one beyond the yearlong sediments of monotony. The city lurching under the weight of hoi-choi (noise and fanfare) gives a tug at every Bangali heart. Besides the actual worshiping, most pandals organize varieties of cultural events, competitions to regale the local people. It’s party time for both children and adults, as they participate in the fun and frolic…

Celebrations of Durga Puja came to an end today with the immersion of the majestic images of Goddess and her pantheon in the river Ganga and other water bodies across the country. A sense of sadness pervades the atmosphere after bidding farewell to the goddess. But it is also the time when a yearlong wait begins for the Mother Goddess to return next year around the same time....

The following photograph might remind you of the recent masterpiece from Sujoy Ghosh – the thriller set against the backdrop of Durga Puja... “Kahaani” It not only tells the kahaani of Vidya Balan, but it also depicts how this festival influences all the aspects of life. The “good wins over evil” adage is portrayed to the hilt with Vidya being Maa Durga’s avatar, coming down to earth (Kolkata) to destroy asura (villains in the story). 


One of the important rituals --Sindur Khela

The sindoor khela (the ritual before the Goddess is immersed) is weaved into the story in an excellent way. This is not the first time Vidya has worked in a film that showcases Durga Puja – she made her super successful debut in “Parineeta”, which included the dhunuchi naach (traditional dance holding hot earthen pots emitting incense) of Durga Puja performed by Sanjay Dutt.

These are some of photographs of the temporary street-shrines created by different associations. From wacky themes to the traditional, every year Kolkata's marquees are designed using different metals, jute, glasses, papers, thermocoles. Some of the marquees can be easily conceived as works of Art. 

Curiously some of these wonder marquees have been crafted by artisans, who probably never stepped out of Bengal and had only magazines or books to guide them to create these structures. The pictures can barely capture the ensuing emotions.

 Anyway, here are some of the finest picks of 2012....Just for your information, after pujas these structures will be dismantled and sold to the  art connoisseurs at exorbitant prices and I'm told that the poor artisans do get a fair share from the organizers.

Night Jasmines....(Shiuli flowers)
TRIDHARAA SANMILLANI ---SEE THE INTRICATE WOOD CARVINGS!
DURGA - BUDDHA FUSION!




MADDOX SQUARE-- Famous South Kolkata Puja Mandap....tradition personified!
MADDOX SQUARE
The Chandelier...


Dazzling Structure @Mudiali



Temporary courtyard of the zamindar's house..... SAMAJ SEBI




THEME RAKTA-BEEJ --SHIV MANDIR ( Godess Durga had to fight the mighty demon Rakta Beej, who would multiply with every drop of his blood into one more demon....The war was intricately depicted using tins and scraps of metals....




Demon's Den...Skull and Bones made of plaster of Paris...

Chakroberia Youth Club...

BARISHA SANGHA ---Created by a well-known artist Sanantan Dinda... Theme was 'BHAKTI AAR SHAKTI'---potrays two facets of Goddess.



Bhakti and Shakti --


This was the best marque that I saw and admired !! @ CHAKRABERIA SANMILANI...
LAND OF DREAMS --- created with crystals, nylon strings and wood pieces..incredible!


You can feel the crystal energies flowing through the pandal...



NETAJI SANGHA--

JODHPUR PARK 95 PALLY---- Nature VS Nurture


Mudiali -2


BHAWANIPUR


BALLYGAUNGE CULTURAL---RAJASTHAN....





JODHPUR PARK-- Made of Ply wood and plaster of Paris




PADWA-PUKUR


HAPPY BIJAYA GREETINGS TO ALL MY READERS...



108 comments:

  1. OMG...OMG...these are very beautiful...colorful..Visiting Kolkata during Durgapuja is in my wishlist...but you have takne me there already...thanks

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    1. Thanks Ranjana...You are a creative person, so you must come over sometime and see all this! I am sure, you'd enjoy!:)

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  2. Me gusta visitar tu blog, siempre me sorprendes con imágenes y costumbres de tu país.
    Saludos

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    1. estoy muy feliz de tenerte aquí, gracias, Victor.
      no sé mucho español.....:)

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  3. colourful and beautiful.Thanks for sharing the pictures .

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    1. Thanks Gunjan. Good to have you here after a long time :D

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  4. This is awesome. Lovely pics- I have heard a lot about the gaiety and substantial decorations for the festival and the fun pandal hoppings but, never been able to actually see one. The last one is so modern!

    We call the night jasmine as pavallamalli. And what exquisite smell it has at night... I love the the shot of the flowers. (***Lost in Nostalgia***)

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    1. Meoww...glad you enjoyed going through the post! I love these night blooming jasmine flowers...I put them in little saucers in our rooms every morning.The whole house smells so good...Thrilled to know that you liked that novice shot!:D
      Thanks!

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  5. Happy Dashami to you and yours!
    Thank you for the wonderful virtual tour of the Pujo celebrations!

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    1. Thanks Deepak for going through the photographs. Am no expert in photography...just took some to share with my friends here :)
      Thank you.

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  6. Loved the different meanings and variant emotions that the festival generates. It seems Kahani has just been admitted to the endless saga of symbols and folklore -the victory of the righteous over the forces of evil. The image 'Bhakti and Shakti' is quite interesting.

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    1. Umashankar, Thanks for your time..While writing the post, kahani came to my mind. We have witnessed Mumbai and Delhi as a part of many films but never before has the City of Joy been portrayed the way it has been done in Kahaani; the small quaint streets, the people, the Howrah bridge and of course the Durga Puja – Kolkata has been served deliciously!:D
      The 'bhakti n shakti' is interesting. This 'pada' position has been derived fron the 36 foot positions of Odissi Dance....interesting indeed!
      Thank you,

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  7. Wow! I am Punjabi, and only vaguely familiar with the grandeur of Durga Puja in Bangal (thanks to movies, but this is beyond my imagination. I would love to visit Kolkata on this festival and feel this ethereal ambience. Thank you for this visual treat!!

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    1. Meenakshi !! I am born and brought up in Delhi, so have grown up with Delhi's Durga Puja celebrtaions. But, I realized the difference only after coming to Kolkata. There's an added sense of grandeur and festivity in the air in West Bengal...it is fun hopping from one marquee to another and appreciating the efforts put in by the organizers to showcase innovative and imaginative themes.
      Glad you enjoyed going through the pics. Come over to Kolkata sometime..and be my guest!:))
      Thanks!




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    2. Sure, mam, here in chandigarh, I have eaten so many many versions of rusgulla and sandesh, dying to taste the original ones.

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    3. Great...am waiting for you now :)) Dare not disappoint!:)))

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  8. A brilliant write up and wonderful pictures Panchali di. Happy Dusshera to you and family :)

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    1. Thank you, Jayshree. Am thrilled to know that you enjoyed going through the blog. Happy Dusshera to you and your family too :))
      Thank you.

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  9. amazing pics... felt like wanna be a part of it.

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    1. Thanks Sathish...come over to Kolkata next year during pujas and we'll take you around :))

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  10. Wonderful shots from the celebration. The way the Goddess is decorated is impressive. I love that first shot.

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    1. Thanks Rajesh!Yes, that's a typical traditional image of Durga...!Happy to know that you enjoyed..:)

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  11. Ebar ami ja ja miss korechi sob tomar blog e dekhe nilam Panchalidi... Thank you!

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    1. :)) Toder moton lokeder jonno i toh eyi ta post kora re...happy you enjoyed, Rajrupa!

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  12. A grand post and and extensive virtual tour! Thank you Panchali:)
    Happy Bijaya greetings!

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    1. Thanks Amit, for going through the post.:)
      Greetings to you and your family too!

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  13. wow ! feel like being a part of the celebration ! Harshringar are my favorite flowers ... All the pics are amazing...

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    1. TTT!! Glad you liked the blog :) Oh, so it's called 'harshingar'--what a beautiful name. In Bengal,it is called 'Shiuli'.....I love them too!
      Thanks re..

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  14. Beautiful pictures :-) Subho Bijoya to you and your family :-)

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    1. Thanks!! Shubho Bijoya to you and your family too, Speck:))

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  15. It does remind us of the movie and thank for a beautiful photo essay. Festive season is the best time to see our culture coming alive. Enjoy the festivities with your family and friends. :)

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    1. Saru,
      The culture of India refers to the religions, beliefs, customs, traditions...so, may these ethnic, cultural, and religious celebrations continue to bring humanity closer in spirit and connect us to one another...:))
      Very happy that you enjoyed..Happy Bijoya Dashami to you and your family.
      Thanks a bunch :)

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  16. @Panchali Di Thank you so much for sharing awesome photos. Great to saw Durga Puja of Kolkata through your blog.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed Rupam...:)) Thanks so much !!

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  17. Thank you for taking us to the City of Joy when it's at its joyous best. Thank you for showing us the festivities. What a lovely and timely post. I hope you had a Happy Pooja, Panchali di. :). This is the part of the country I've never travelled to. Now, I think I know what season I should be planning a trip for, when I do so. :)

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    1. Thank you, Divya for your time and comments. I am glad you enjoyed going through the pics. You must come over during pujas some time. Be my guest...and we'll go around :))

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    2. I'm definitely going to let you know when I come that side. I would love to hang out with you, even if it's for a short while.

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  18. Panchali.. I was totally fascinated by this post. Durga Puja has always captured my imagination and I have always been awed by the festivity and fervor associated with it. And you have so brilliantly brought out the history behind it as well as its evolution and what it means to us today. More than anything it is a festival that brings people together and rejoice in each other’s happiness. And coming to those wonderful photos.. what do I say? I am speechless. Such craft, such talent… I am completely mesmerized by their beauty and authenticity. Superb captures and a brilliant post. Thank you for bringing the durga puja alive in front of my eyes. :)

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    1. Raj...I am glad you 'caught this post'.. :) Durga Puja offers an atmosphere of social equality. The ties that bind Indians are much deeper and stronger than we realize.
      Thank you for your encouraging words. I appreciate them.:)

      Thanks for coming by...

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  19. OMG Awesome Panchali. Durga Puja festivity in Kolkata is beautifully captured by your images as well as your great commentary. You are right Sindoor khela did remind me of the movie Kahanni. I am itching to buy a red and white Bengali saree.

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    1. Rachna...It is so much like you to notice, appreciate and absorb the nuances of the festivity. I wish I could tell you how fulfilled I feel ...thanks!!
      Go ahead and buy a 'lal-pede'(red bordered) saree. Do post a pic...:))

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  20. So Panchali, I see you have a huge following here as well. This was excellent post. I was waiting for it for days! last year too, yours was outstanding on Sulekha! Loved all the pictures but Shidur khela - bhishon bhalo legeche.

    Julia
    (juliadutta.blogspot.in)

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    1. Awe...What a pleasure to see you here, Julia. You wanted to see these pics..am glad you noticed!!:)))
      Tumi eley amaro khub bhalo laglo re...Thanks!!

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  21. Thank you for this, Panchali di! It is mainly at the time of Pujo that I greatly miss Calcutta! Just FIY, I was invited to write a post on an Indian festival by one of my American Jewish fellow bloggers. I wish to write about Durga Pujo, as it is much lesser known elsewhere in the world, compared to Diwali.

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    1. Roshni! So good to have you here! Lovely...! It is a good idea to write about Durga Pujo...in fact, you can incorporate small stories of 'mohishasur-badh' (slaying) in your write up to add more charm to your blog! Please let me know after you have posted your blog..:))
      Since you say you miss Kolkata...do I take that you've lived in Kolkata once!!?? Wonderful..world is so small!!:))
      Thanks for the visit...

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  22. Feel like my longing for visiting Kolkata on Durga Pooja has been fulfilled through this post Mam...

    Great post and great narration of the event...

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    1. Madhvi!! It is thrilling to have you come and read. Thanks. :)

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  23. आपने इन चित्रों के द्वारा पुरे नवरात्रि की जाकी ही प्रस्तुत की है, सोचा तो बहोत बार की इस नवरात्रि को कोलकाता की दुर्गा पूजा देखि जाये लेकिन कुछ परेशानियों की वजह से कभी भी मौका नहीं मिला और न ही संभव नहीं हो पाया धन्यवाद् आपने जो इन चित्रों द्वारा दुर्गा पूजा की एक सजीव जाकी ही प्रस्तुत की है, ऐसा लगता ही की मानो इस भव्य-दिव्य नज़ारे को अपनी आँखों के सामने महसूस कर रहा हूँ. Harry की तरफ से फिर से एक बार दिलो जान से धन्यवाद् , धन्यवाद्, धन्यवाद्, धन्यवाद्, धन्यवाद्

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    1. Lucky...what a compliment!I am so pleased and gratified that you liked this...meri taraf se bhi apko bahut bahut dhanyavaad! Hope you will keep coming.. :)

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  24. such magnificent colours, such large scale decorations and celebrations! that is what makes our festivals what they are! beautiful captures!!
    we call those beautiful shiuli flowers as 'parijata pushpa' here.
    loved the huge blue shivaling, its beautiful! and also the huge feet of 'shakti'. the pandals are so lively and u have captured them so beautifully! so thanks to u for sharing the festivities...it was like participating in the durga puja darshan through ur eyes!! god bless u!

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    1. Princess...What a lovely way to appreciate this blog...! In Bengal, Parijaato is Lotus! Did you notice the two 'pada' postures carefully! One portrays Bhakti, and the other one depicts Shakti. The 'pada' positions have been derived from the 36 foot positions of Odissi Dance....interesting isn't it??!

      I likes that you likes. I likes a whole BUNCH...!!!! :))))))
      Thanks a lot..

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  25. Lovley photographs. Make the festival come alive in front of you. Durga pooja is the time when a magic spell is cast over Kolkatta. Surely the place to be. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Sabyasachi !!I appreciate your feedback..Pandals reflect the artistic mastery of Bengal..and the ambiance creates the magic spell...!! Very happy to have you here.
      Thanks for coming by...

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  26. Replies
    1. Thanks Alka...how have you been!?? Long time...Good to see you!

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  27. Beautiful pics Panchali! You made the pandals come alive in front of my eyes. I love pandal hopping during Durga Puja and always wondered how it must be to do the same in Kolkata. Thank you so much for sharing. Great work.

    My world, my thoughts, my musings...

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    1. Welcome to my space, Upasana...:))
      Pandal hopping is always exciting, but in Kolkata, it feels so different and unique!
      So pleased to see you here... so very VERY pleased. :)))
      Thank you.

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  28. Hi Panchali Dear,

    I am glad I stopped by such a beautiful post. Lovely, your describing words and images. Loved it! The Durga and Buddha Fusion is something new I come to know ... :)
    I have charm to visit Kolkata..Lets see!

    My best wishes to you...
    Lots of Love!

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    1. Simran...Innovation and imagination are displayed in conceptualization...Buddha and Durga fusion were used last year also! Come over to Kolkata sometime during pujas...I'll take you around :D
      Thanks so much!!

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  29. Grand pictures. Thanks for these visuals.

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    1. Indrani..Glad you enjoyed!Thanks for the visit... :)))

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  30. Panchali you have taken extensive pains to show us the grand celebrations,thank you.Your post gives a fair idea of how the whole of Kolkatta is submerged in one emotion during this puja.The rakta beej image in shades of blue is truly mesmerizing.

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    1. Indu.. The blue image is of Kali---Kali is the Goddess of life, death, and rebirth. She is the Dark Mother who creates and destroys.Several stories tell of her origin–she is usually the dark part of Durga, separated... in order to fulfill her task of killing demons....hence, she's in blue. She's also called Nilameghavarna (the colour of a blue rain-cloud)
      Rakta beej was the demon!
      Glad you noticed...and I am so pleased that I could add more to it :)) Thanks!

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    2. Thank you for this nugget-i am poor in mythology.

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    3. :))
      Not that I am an expert...nevertheless :D

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  31. That's a labour of love.

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    1. Shovan...You can't tease my labor of love and leave like that...!! Hope you liked it! Thanks anyway :)

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  32. Welcome Panchali!
    I am charmed by your post.
    It's great. Admired your photos.
    Thank you that although I could get to know the culture of your country.
    Thank you very, you remember me.
    Srawiasz me great joy to your comment.
    I cordially greet

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    1. Wow...Lucja! What a compliment!! I am delighted with your comment. :))) Thanks a ton :))
      Greetings form India!

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  33. Absolutely Beautiful pictures, Ma'm. Going through this post was an enriching experience. Thank you. :)

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    1. Akshay!! Do you have any idea how happy you make me feel each time you visit my blog..? Glad you enjoyed :) I am so pleased...
      Thanks a bunch!!

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  34. Dear Panchalidi,

    The Budhdha one is out of this world. This is the only one I had seen before.
    What a novel idea. Also the skull chandelier, I want one for my hall...LOL

    You have had so much fun pandal hopping..! All these pictures are proof. Thank you :)

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    1. Yes, my dear Ghaz...had a whale of a time. Now suddenly there's a terrible void...:(
      Good to see you always:) Thanks!

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  35. vibrantly beautiful clicks mam ....loved it :)

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    1. Vinisha...Thank you for that lovely comment. :))

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  36. Very beautiful photoblog Panchali, googled for it and was not disappointed.:)You are right that moving away from rivr is not at all a bad idea.Will visit as and when. Love, Aditi

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    1. Aditi !!! What a pleasure to see you here!!! Frankly, I am happy I moved out of rivr in quiet desperation.Though I really didn't want to... What more can I say!!?
      Am glad you enjoyed. It is thrilling to have you come and read. Hope you will keep coming.. :)Thank you.
      ..let me look for you now! Love, Panchali

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    1. Great...I am technically challenged and if you say I am technically right...well, that's truly inspiring. Much gratified, Vinay :)
      Thanks..

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  38. Brought back memories flooding back of pandal hopping in Kolkata:)

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    1. Rahul...So do I take that you've lived in Kolkata as well!!?? Wonderful news!Thanks for the visit and comment... :)

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  39. so many photographs, dazzling festivities, so much public participation, grand Pooja indeed. Thanks for sharing with us.

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    1. Pattu...Lovely...! You inspire me. So good to have you here !! Thanks for the 'value addition'. :)

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  40. Those are such lovely pictures , Reminded me of the time when i had celebrated Durga puja in kolkata a long time ago.. There was so much Good chaos .. fireworks and Noise .. it was awesome..


    Bikram's

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    1. Oh, so you too have stayed in Kolkata!! I liked your phrase 'good chaos'--and that's what IT IS!! So, aptly summed up, Bikram!:D
      Thank you for that lovely comment. :))

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  41. Such lovely pictures!!

    I felt I am there witnessing the grandeur myself :)

    I have Kolkata on my travel wish list and specially at this time..!

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    1. ME!!! Glad you could be part of the celebration. It is thrilling to have you come and read. Thanks. :)
      Do plan out a trip, and be my guest!I'll take you around..:))

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  42. Welcome Panchali!
    The world is so beautiful.
    She came to admire your photos.
    They are lovely.

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    1. Lucja-Maria...you are beautiful,my dear. Thanks for this beautiful comment, I was a bit busy with our festivals all this while, so have a lot of backlog..would come over to your space soon...:))
      Thanks a ton!

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  43. I enjoyed your photos and words, Panchali. Enjoyed learning a bit about this festive time. It must have been a wonderful celebration!

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    1. Thank you, Mary for being here. I am glad you enjoyed reading the blog. Thanks for the time...:)) Yes,the festivity is over now...and Kolkata is back to its usual form!
      Thank you..

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  44. The shiuli flowers are called Pavala malli in Tamil : pavalam meaning coral, signifying the stem of the flower, malli a diminiutive of malligai/jasmine!

    I just loved the account of Shindhoor khel the MOST Panchali di... I hope I should spend one of my Durga Poojas in Kolkatta sometime!!

    Happy festive season to you!

    Do stop by my blog! I'd love your comments & visits!!

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    1. Kappu...I learnt something new today about Shiuli flowers! Sinddor -khela is an important part of Durga Puja--it's more like playing holi but with vermilion..
      Glad you enjoyed...
      Festive greetings to you too!

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  45. Only in Kolkata will you get to see such artistic pandals. The toil and sweat of so many to make this festival memorable for us.

    I missed the fragrance of shiuli this year. The greasy biryani, the fish chop and jostling against each other to get a glimpse of Maa in all her glory.

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    1. Indeed...:))But, I thought you were in Delhi, Purba. Of course, no one can beat Kashmiri Gate's Biriyni, CR Park's fish chops!!I still miss Delhi's Durga Pujo.
      btw, where are you now?? I mean which country?

      :))

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  46. Effectively photographed Kolkata.

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    1. Thanks Suhas...for your words of appreciation...:))Good to see you always!

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  47. Aha! I just heard the dhuno and the dhak beats and I could smell the fragrance of the incense and the shiuli! Though I am not a Bengali but I love Bengal and your beautiful post presentation not only helped me be a part of all the hoi-choi but also tugged my heart strings to see all this in person someday! Thank you so so much :)

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    1. Woo hoo !!The number 100 is a milestone :)))Time to celebrate for my 100th comment!
      Thanks for your super-duper comment, Arti. I can see you know Bangla pretty well...that's so cool! You've impressed me....!!!!!! Do come over to Kolkata during pujas and be my guest. I shall take you around :D I am serious...
      Thank you so much for such a fantastic feedback. I will cherish your words always. xoxo

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  48. Saw this post now. Belated but hearty Bijoya wishes, Panchali. What a treat it was to go through this post. The comments are but validation of how much your effort is appreciated. I have not been to Kolkata for the pujas for nearly two decades now, largely by design, and it was like going on a tour of the pandals reading this post and seeing the images. Thanks a lot.

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    1. Subhorup...Belated Bijoya greetings to you and your Mom. kindly convey my sincere regards to her.
      Good to see you here at last! I was actually waiting for you to take a look at these photographs.
      Durga Puja festival finds significance in the lives of every person dwelling in Kolkata. So, I thought of showcasing the city’s fun n festivity.....Come over to kolkata during pujas, and be a part of the madness once at least!!:))It is mind blowing...
      I am so thankful to you for your visit and comment and I value it from the bottom of my heart. Thanks a lot!

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  49. I have really found this post to be much interesting in its genre and would like to appreciate it as a beautifully written article. This write-up has sincerely gained its archetypal information in a brilliant manner, and it is highly supported by its language and verbosity of the content.
    Tours from Kolkata

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  50. Good one. I love the Durga puja of Kolkata. It's is really amazing. Come during the grand Durga Puja ceremony and lose yourself in the fervent, pious and celebratory air of the city. Click here to know about places to visit in Kolkata.

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  51. Niche article..I love The Durga Puja.
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