Kali Puja

Why To Go

India is a country of many religious festivals. Its diversity is reflected in the many regional festivals which arise from many religions. Within Hinduism itself, there are particular local gods and goddesses, and the celebrations have also become unique to the region, imbuing its culture and its norms in the religious festivities and rituals. Kali Puja is celebrated mainly in West Bengal, Assam and Odisha. However, over the course of the years, it has become synonymous with West Bengal and Diwali. The festival has its own charm and its personal particulars, which makes it far from generic, and visiting West Bengal during the Kali Puja is an experience layered in culture, spirituality, and warmth.

Kali Puja is also celebrated with grandeur in Howrah and Barasat areas. The idols of these places are huge, each standing as long as 20 – 40 feet.

Travel Tips

Make sure you step out in cotton clothes and not in materials which are very flammable. There will be a lot of firecrackers being burst on the streets. Make sure you partake of the Prasad, which is given out at the end of the Puja, and make sure you get a good night’s sleep before the day of the Puja because the rituals go on late into the night.

Things To Do

Goddess Kali is a principal deity in Hinduism. And her festival is a significant occasion in the state of West Bengal. While most households in this state worship her regularly, a single day in the year is dedicated to her worship or Puja on a grand scale. This date falls in the month of Kartik, which is between October and November. Almost always, the Kali Puja coincides with Diwali. While this date is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Lakshmi in North India, in the eastern part of the country, this day is reserved for the worship of this fiery goddess. Every year, during the stipulated time, on an Amavasya (no moon) night, the Puja for Goddess Kali takes place. Ma Kaali is believed to be an impersonation of Durga Maa and is a more aggressive form of the same. The idol is depicted as standing up with her tongue out and one foot on the chest of Lord Shiva, who is lying at her feet. With all total four hands, she clutches a severed head of a demon in one hand; in the other, she brandishes a sword, and with the rest two hands she gives us blessings; her neck is decorated with a garland of skulls. Goddess Kali stands for justice and vindication. According to Hindu mythology, two demons, Shambhu and Nishambhu had threatened the king of gods, Indra. They had challenged all the gods, who, in turn, turned to Goddess Durga for protection. Thus, Goddess Kali was born from her forehead to defeat the demons. She slaughtered them all, and wore their skulls around her neck. But the aggression took control of her being as she started killing everyone around her. At this point, Lord Shiva, in an attempt to stop her, lay himself down at her feet, and when she stepped over him, she realized what she was doing, and she stuck out her tongue in shock at her actions. Calcutta is the hub of all activities during this time. As the only major metropolitan in West Bengal, there are various big Pujas that go on during this time in the city. Pandals are put up all over the city, and large Idols are placed there, ready for the rituals to begin. The actual worshipping time during the Kali Puja is late into the night, almost always after midnight. Tantrik Pujas are often performed for this goddess. She stands as the destroyer of evil, and gives people protection from disasters. Lamps are lit all over the city in the evening, as are candles. People step out of their houses in traditional clothes, and burst firecrackers till the time for the Puja comes by. When in Calcutta, you should dress up in the traditional sari or kurta-pajama before heading off to watch the rituals. Make sure to burst some firecrackers and walk around the city, watching the beautiful twinkling lights which adorn every house. There are a few famous temples dedicated to Goddess Kali, which you can visit. These temples are very crowded on the day of the Puja, but braving the bustle is almost always worth it. Kalighat Temple is located in the heart of the city. It was built in 1809 at the site of an ancient temple. Many pilgrims from all over the country come here to worship the goddess throughout the year. But the vibrancy on the day of Kali Puja is unmatched. Another famous temple is the Dakshineshwar Temple, which lies in the outskirts of Calcutta. Built by Rani Rasmoni between 1847 and 1855, on the banks of the River Ganga, this temple, too, is an important pilgrimage site. The other temple in Tarapith, which is about 300 miles from Kolkata, is located on the banks of Dwarka River.

Getting Around

There are several transport options to commute around the City of Joy. Moving on the traditional tram is a peaceful journey. There are public and state buses that ply regularly across every point of the city. Taxi, private cars, Ola, Ubers, auto rickshaws… there are plenty of options. You can board metro rails also that would take you from north to south.

How To Reach

FLIGHT

Kolkata has its own airport, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Airport, which is well connected to all the other parts of the country. Both national and international flights are available in this airport. From the airport shared taxi, private cars, Ola etc are available.

TRAIN

Howrah and Sealdah are two major stations in Kolkata and there is Kolkata station, too. The stations at Kolkata, too, are very well connected to the other parts of the country.

ROAD

You can drive in from many other parts of the country into Kolkata. Within the city itself, there are many means of public transport.

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Surrounding Attractions

You can drive in from many other parts of the country into Kolkata. Within the city itself, there are many means of public transport.
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