There are literally thousands of Kolkata Durga Puja pandals but some stand out more than others, as a result of their captivating decorations. Every year they compete to outdo each other with the most elaborate and innovative themes. Here are 10 famous pandals that are really worth seeing. Unfortunately, it's impossible to list all the popular ones because there are so many. Therefore, please do respond and share your favorite ones with us at the bottom of this article. Wondering where is best to stay? Try these 7 hotels for Durga Puja in Kolkata.
Bagbazaar is one of the oldest Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata, having been in existence for around 100 years. It's a relatively simple one with emphasis on tradition and culture, but it always attracts the crowds with its strikingly beautiful idol of Goddess Durga.
Location: North Kolkata, along the river in Bagbazaar. Near the Bagbazar Launch Ghat and Bagbazar Kolkata Circular Railway Station. The closest Metro railway station is Shayambazar.
Kumartuli Park is a relatively young pandal, but one that has become deservedly popular. It's particularly special because it takes place in the area where many of the Durga idols are handcrafted by professional clay modelers. The organizers believe in thinking outside the box when it comes to themes, so expect the unexpected!
Location: North Kolkata, along the river at Kumartuli Park, just before Bagbazar (ideally, plan to visit both pandals). The nearest railway station is the Sovabazar Metro. It's also close to Sovabazar Launch Ghat.
College Square has a really picturesque setting beside a lake, and the whole area is illuminated for the festival. Understandably, the crowd flocks to this pandal to see the sparkling lights and their reflection on the water. It's best visited at night.
Location: Central Kolkata. 53 College Street. Near Kolkata University, off MG (Mahatma Gandhi) Road. The nearest railway stations are Mahatma Gandhi Road and Central Metro.
4. Mohammad Ali Park
As its name suggests, this pandal is located in a large park. It's another famous crowd puller, with an elaborate and eye catching display.
Location: Central Kolkata. Opposite College Square, on Mahatma Gandhi Road (visit this pandal along with College Square).
5. Santosh Mitra Square
Santosh Mitra Square rose to fame in 1997 with a particularly innovative theme, and has remained popular ever since. It's known for its remarkable art work. You can expect to be dazzled!
Location: Central Kolkata, in the Bow Bazaar area. It's off BB Ganguly Street, not far from Sealdah railway station. The nearest Metro station is Central.
Badamtala Ashar Sangha is a long standing Durga Puja pandal (around 75 years old) that also has a special place in people's hearts. From humble beginnings it grew to win an award for creative excellence in 2010.
Location: South Kolkata. Nepal Bhattacharjee Street, Kalighat. Right near the Kalighat Metro railway station and Rash Bihari Ave.
Suruchi Sangha entertains visitors with a cultural extravaganza and outdoor display, themed on a different state of India each year. The Durga idols are modeled on how they look in each state as well. Although this puja pandal is more than 50 years old, it first found fame in 2003 when it won an award for the best decorated pandal. It won the award again in 2009. The artwork is exquisite.
Location: South Kolkata, in New Alipore near the petrol pump on Nalini Rajan Avenue (close to the National Highway 117 intersection). The nearest railways stations are Majherhat and Kalighat.
8. Ekdalia Evergreen
Ekdalia Evergreen is an elaborate pandal with exotic decor and lighting. This pandal has become well known for its magnificent replicas of temples from all over India. It's also best visited at night.
Location: South Kolkata, in Gariahat. You'll find it near Mandevilla Gardens where the South Point Junior School is, off Rash Bihari Avenue towards Gariahat Flyover. The nearest railway stations are Ballygunge and Kalighat Metro.
9. Bose Pukur Sitala Mandir
Bose Pukur Sitala Mandir is a multi-award winning Durga Puja pandal, earining it quite a reputation as one not to be missed. Of course, the unique themes each year are the main attraction.
Location: South Kolkata, in Bose Pukar, Kasba. Drive towards Ruby General Hospital from Gariahat and you'll find the pandal around midway, near Bose Pukar petrol pump. The closest railway station is Ballygunge.
10. Jodhpur Park
Jodhpur Park durga puja pandal is one of the most popular ones in south Kolkata. Its themes have been vast and varied, with some years more traditional than others.
Location: South Kolkata. The puja is at Jadavpur Thana, Jodhpur Park, just off Gariahat Road South. (Jodhpur Park is close to Gariahat and Dhakuria). The nearest railway station is Dhakuria.