Bengal Diaries: Durga Pandal Hop

With our holy temple visits coming to an end, the entire troop decided to lay back and relax the next day. We stayed over in our aunt’s house and ate and slept to our heart’s content before decking up in Indian clothes to visit the durga idols installed around the town.

The town was lit through and through. Every corner of Uttarpara was filled to the brim with people dressed in their best new outfits. Beautiful and mesmerising string lights adorned the roads and each pandal was unique in its own way.

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Over all, we must’ve seen over a 100 Durga idols throughout our visit. Intricately carved and painted with great precision, each idol had an unparalled beauty. While some were gold, others were silver and yet some more were simplistically sculpted with clay.

Meanwhile, the pandals (marquees) deserved a special write-up because there were so many of them!!! They ranged from ones made of bamboo to those made of cloth. From themes like villages to haunted houses, each marquee could have a post dedicated to itself. The details were breathtaking.

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On the way, we took tiny food breaks where we filled our stomachs with ghugni and phuchkas and jalmuris among other things.

The cherry on the top was the last pandal we saw. It was immense in size and had gamcha (towel) dolls encrusted on the walls. It looked like a miniature village. The crowd that this particular Durga pulled in was the most I had seen in one place. With every road having a marqee, I thought that the audience would be small everywhere. Yet, to this particular place, people from a little far off too came to see it.

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Outside the pandal, several stalls were set up to pertain to our various tastes. Puchkas, jalmuri, biriyani, ice cream, paan, toys, games, balloons, bubbles and so much more. It was, in its own way, a sort of fair. To another side, there were rides like the ferris wheel and other things.

After all the frolic, we went back to our aunt’s house to go to bed.

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