Durga Puja in Kolkata: Things to See and Do

Durga Idol
Durga Idol | © AKS.9955/Flickr
Sridevi Nambiar

No festival is celebrated in Kolkata with as much pomp and fervor as Durga Puja, and witnessing this city at its festive best is an experience not to be missed. We’ve compiled this guide to Kolkata’s finest Durga Puja offerings to help you plan your travels well.

Held over five to ten days, Durga Puja is India’s annual celebration of the Hindu goddess Durga. In Kolkata, Durga Puja takes on a bigger role – as the time to celebrate local artisans and their work. Hundreds of exquisitely crafted pandals (temporary tents carrying idols of the goddess) are set up, intricate colorful motifs locally known as Alpana are drawn on the city’s pavements and other public spaces, and festive lights illuminate every remote corner of the city.


Pandal Hopping

The most essential of all festive activities in Kolkata during this season is to go pandal-hopping or stopping by as many pandals as you can to both soak in their marvel, and to pay your respects to the goddess. Pandals range from modest bamboo marquees to extravagant, highly artistic and multi-storied structures. Within them you’ll find highly decorated terracotta statues of the goddess – usually sourced from Kumartuli, Kolkata’s very own artisans colony.

Among the city’s many and historic pandals, there are several noteworthy ones that draw in admiring crowds from around the country. Bagbazar Durga Pandal is over 100 years old, and the quintessential traditional pandal. Kumartuli’s durga pandal is another one to watch out for, with the local artisans using the occasion to display the best of their craft.

Bagbazar St, Baghbazar, Kolkata

Abhay Mitra St, Sovabazar, Kumartuli, Shobhabazar, Kolkata

Festive Food

Kolkata is a foodie-haven, festival season or not. So one can imagine just how hype-worthy Durga Puja culinary indulgences are. All sorts of traditional mishti (sweets) and street snacks are prepared and consumed like there’s no tomorrow. From street food staples such as phuchkas, or Bengali pani puris to mishit doi, there’s way too much to be eaten during festival season.

To experience the best of Kolkata’s festive culinary scene, hit up one of the city’s historic sweet shops. Balaram Mullick and Radharam Mullick, one of the city’s oldest mishti makers is always a fantastic option if you’re looking to feast on a wide range of sandesh, rasgullas and other traditional treats.

Balaram and Radharam Mullick: 2, Paddapukur Rd, Jadubabur Bazar, Bhowanipore, Kolkata, India


If you are looking for a full traditional meal, head to one of the city’s popular authentic Bengali restaurants. Kasturi Restaurant in New Market Area and Oh! Calcutta in Bhawanipur are two excellent options.

Kasturi Restaurant: 7A, Mushtaq Ahmed Road, Kolkata

Oh! Calcutta: 4th Floor, Forum Mall, 10/3, Elgin Rd, Bhawanipur, Kolkata

Traditional Thali

Culture Trips launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes places and communities so special.

Our immersive trips, led by Local Insiders, are once-in-a-lifetime experiences and an invitation to travel the world with like-minded explorers. Our Travel Experts are on hand to help you make perfect memories. All our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.?>

All our travel guides are curated by the Culture Trip team working in tandem with local experts. From unique experiences to essential tips on how to make the most of your future travels, we’ve got you covered.

Culture Trip Spring Sale

Save up to $1,656 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article