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Summary: The 'Sarat' season is finally here and this year's edition of Durga Puja is in the offing. We would here provide a brief overview of this immensely popular annual festival in Kolkata.
The countdown is already on for the eagerly anticipated Durga Puja this year. With less than two months remaining for the four days of grand festivities, we would here take you through some of the important information and interesting activities during the biggest annual religious ceremony in the calendar for Bengalis:
At the end of the dampening shower of the monsoons, the sun peep out through the broken cotton shaped floating clouds in the clear blue sky which indicates the arrival of “sharad”or autumn season. The fragrance and colour of coral jasmine and the beautiful odour of mud fills everyone’s heart with joy, excitement and anticipation for the arrival of the “Pujo” or “Puja”.
Durga puja is the biggest art carnival which is celebrated grandly in Bengal .The virus of puja fever strikes all over Bengal and preparations starts 3 months before. After office hours the locals head for shopping though they are tired & exhausted however feel happy to shop, choose souvenirs for their family and friends. People prefer shopping in groups rather than going alone because some of them are good in bargaining and some may be experts in choosing or selecting the perfect combination for the right fashion. The locals prefer bargaining but do not want to compromise on the quality of the products as they wish to bestow the best gifts to their kith and kin.
Puja shopping is bread and butter for many hawkers selling food and apparels and accessories on the streets. Before the arrival of the pujas most of the locals are busy with their shopping, renovation and rearrange/whitewashing their homes, they tend to go out and have lunch/dine in restaurants with friends and families as the women usually aren’t in the mood of cooking. Therefore the restaurants, eateries (for e.g. Arsalan and Shiraz biryani is in huge demand during pujas.) are overcrowded and many a times one needs to wait in a queue for more than an hour to get a table. Ad hock food stalls are erected on the sidewalks where Pedestrians, pilgrims, locals and pandol hoppers love to eat. Young girls in their best attire are glued to the puchka shops and boys are seen ogling them .Most girls believe that they aren’t looking their best until and unless guys tease them.
The shopkeepers in a bid to sell more products and to compete with their fellow businessman they give huge discounts and also give small gifts, some hawkers voice their product in order to attract customers. Every inch of the city is occupied with ad hock stalls and road side stalls. If someone needs to reach a destination he/she needs to have ample time since the city is at its high pace and everybody is busy it takes a lot of time to travel from one place to another. Though the city is sprawling and bustling with people yet they don’t mind shouldering the crowd and huge traffic jams as all are in the festive mood it may be hair raising experience for foreign tourist to witness the crowd on the streets of the city. The city is at its best and is decorated like a newly wedded bride and according to the local phrase the city becomes “tillotama” or miss universe.
People believe that puja month is an auspicious time “subh muharat” so people usually buy valuable assets like traditional gold or silver jewelleries and also artificial jewelleries like terracotta and dokra and in clothes for e.g. Women buy traditional silk, taant, benarasi, Dhakai and jamdani saree (white saree with red border is famous in Bengal, white represents spirituality, red border symbolises purity.) and men buy sherwaani, Dhoti and kurta but some also prefer modern fashion like jeans and tops, t-shirt, skirts. People prefer comfortable shoes as most of them visit the city from the suburbs and villages to explore the pandols, as there is a lot of walking involved in the pandol hopping. So there is girls wear sandals to match with their beautiful saree and men wear leather shoes. People renovate and rearrange their homes so they also buy new furniture, curtain, bed sheets and decorative and small authentic souvenirs.
Traditional sarees (Tussar silk, taant, benarasi, Dhakai, jamdani saree ,Lal paar saree and Baluchari saree)
Burrabazar(largest whole sale market in Bengal)
Sherwaani and traditional mens wear
Authentic jewelleries ( Gold, silver, diamond)
Artificial Jewelleries ( Terracotta and dokra)
Home decor (Drapers, curtains, table runners, bed sheets, pillow cover and carpet)
Home and office furniture
Authentic bengali Food
Oh! Calcutta , Bhojohori Manna, Aaheli.
Biryani, Kababs, Rolls
Park street : Arsalan, shiraz
Park Street: Flurys, Bar b Q
Puchkas, kachori,Shingara, Lassi, juice
Outside Hogg Market, Sharma Tea Shop.
Sweets ( Gulab jamun, Rossogulla, Sandesh)
Kc das Sweet shop
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