Durga Puja celebrations.
Getty Images/Daniel Berehulak
West Bengal Tourism offers a plethora of Durga Puja sightseeing packages (check out the full list here and online bookings can be made here). According to this news report, in the past, puja tourism focused mainly on pandal hopping. However, this year, puja rituals are being showcased. Hence, the tours are starting from Mahalaya, when the Goddess Durga is invited to earth and the eyes are painted on the Durga idols. An all night tour of the popular pandals is still happening as usual, along with a boat trip down the river on the day the statues of Goddess Durga are immersed in the water.
Costs range from 600 rupees per person up to 2,000 rupees per person (if you want to go on a day tour to see traditional pujas in rural West Bengal).
In addition, Calcutta Walks will run three special small group Durga Puja tours.
- Bengali Bari Pujas (October 11): A walk through some of the traditional Bengali home pujas, known as Bonedi. The cost is 2,000 rupees per person, including a traditional Bengali lunch.
- Puja Pandals Hopping (October 13): A bus tour that will visit many of the most popular pandals, followed by a traditional Bengali dinner at Kewpie's. The cost is 3,000 rupees per person.
- Immersion Experience (October 15): A four hour boat cruise along the river to watch the immersion of Durga idols. Snacks and tea provided on board. Cost to be determined, but approximately 3,000 rupees per person.
Calcutta Photo Tours are also planning on conducting Durga Puja festival tours, so do check with them as well, especially if you're into photography!
Interested in taking a tour? Don't wait until the last minute to book as they do fill up early.
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