Kolkata is the second largest city of India. It is a cosmopolitan city where people, technology and ideas have blended together with the socio-political culture to give the city a new shape. The city is full of historical monuments and palaces and is therefore also called the “City of Palaces”. Its glorious history dates back to 1690 when it was selected by the British for their trade settlements. The site was carefully chosen by the British as it was protected by the Hooghly River on the west, a creek on the north, and by salt lakes about two and a half miles to the east.
The British defeated Siraj-ud-daullah (the then Nawab of Bengal) on the battle field of Plassey and Calcutta became the capital of British India. Thereafter, the city continued to play a major role in the political affairs of India. Till 1947, the city was a venue for major political programmes and plans for social reformation. The former was meant to remove British troops from the Indian soil while the later was to create social consciousness among the people.
Today, this pulsating city with its distinct imperial flavor has become the capital of West Bengal, a state of the Indian Union. Kolkata provides enormous opportunities in economy, industry, education, culture, tourism and many more aspects that other cities may not.
Kolkata Fair & Festival :
Puja of Ma Durga is a major festival of Bengalis, for which they keep waiting the whole year. Calcutta Durga Puja festival is celebrated on a large scale with great pomp and gaiety. It is celebrated to worship mother Durga, the Goddess of power (Shakti). It celebrates the victory of ma Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Durga Puja of Kolkata, India usually takes place during the autumn period from September-October. The weather is pleasant, giving air a festivity touch. Though the festival of Durga puja is celebrated throughout Bengal, but it is special in Kolkata. Durga puja involves the performance of a long series of rituals. Every day starting from the day of the Mahalaya, the days of Sashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami or Bijoya Dashami has its own set of rituals. Durga puja is a time for socializing with friends, family and relatives. People dressed in their new clothing, visit pandals, eat mouthwatering food and enjoy the drumbeats. It is truly the best time to catch up with your old friends. The whole city is lit up and the otherwise relatively quiet and peaceful city is bustling with people and the city does not sleep for almost a whole week . The whole city is united and they come out as one to worship the Goddess Durga
Dol Purnima is the festivals of colors celebrated as a sign of warm welcome to the Kolkata spring season. It is also known as 'Dol Purnima', 'Dol Jatra' or the ‘Swing festival’ and involves much excitement and enjoyment. The rituals involve worshipping the idols of Krishna and Radha as well as spraying colors on each other.
Durga Puja or the worship of Goddess Durga is the most popular festival in Bengal. It is celebrated with customary religious fervor and pomp twice a year – once during the basant period which falls in the month of March or April and again during Ashwin period in September or October.
Lakshmi puja festival falls in the month of October, about 5 days after Mahadashami. Laxmi Puja of Kolkata India is an important occasion, in which prayers are offered to Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, peace and prosperity. The puja of Ma Laxmi gives an opportunity to people to invite the Goddess of luck and prosperity to their homes. One or two days before the celebration of the festivity of Laxmi puja, the local markets of Kolkata are beautifully decorated. The shops get flooded with the idols of Laxmi seated on a lotus.
Kali Puja dedicated to the goddess Kali is one of the most popular festivals not only in Kolkata but of West Bengal as well. It falls just after the auspicious Durga Puja and involves worship of Goddess Kali- the incarnation of Shakti. However unlike other incarnations of Durga and Saraswati, Goddess kali is a frightening form who wears a garland of skulls and has a sharp weapon in one hand and a severed head on another.
Kolkata Kali Puja festival is another important occasion that takes place two weeks after the celebration of Laxmi puja. Kali puja is performed in the honour of Kali, the Goddess of destruction. People worship Goddess Kali with the belief that she will protect them from evils. Also, she symbolizes strength. Puja of Ma Kali is conducted at midnight on the day of the new moon in the month of Kartik. Kali Puja of Kolkata India usually coincides with Diwali. It is celebrated with splendid grandeur. People light candles, burst crackers, dress up in good clothes and offer prayers to mother Goddess Kali.
Saraswati puja is one big occasion in Kolkata that takes place during the period between late January and early February. In fact, the day when puja of Ma Saraswati is done is declared as a state holiday. Kolkata Saraswati puja festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. It is on this day that the youngest female of the family is asked to dress up in yellow clothing.
Saraswati puja is conducted in almost every locality of Kolkata. People of the locality get together and assemble at the pandal to celebrate the festivity. Kids are really enthusiastic about the puja. It is during this puja that children pray to the goddess for their academic success. It is usually the pundit who performs the puja. After the puja is over, prasad is distributed to all.
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