It’s certainly that time of the year when I am at my Bengali best. Having lived outside of my home town, I miss it every day. My childhood memories are embedded in these festivities and celebrations. Recently a simple conversation with an old friend from Kolkata – sets off a series of reminiscence of my childhood days. Today I am in a city (Gurgaon) where Durga puja is celebrated, but something is missing.

My early childhood memory reminds me that a week before the puja, I wouldn’t be sitting down in my computer typing away, but I would be counting days to the D Day. See if I have enough new clothes to last me for the 5 days of puja, both morning and evening and few to spare. Finalise the dates of my cousins coming down to Kolkata for these special days.

The festivities that precedes the puja are fantastic – days of shopping for self and gifting, meticulous planning of where to go on what dates, which friends to meet when, where would be the late night adda (Friends Chatting Together), who is coming from where. The must visit list, booking of the bus. There would be a day when my entire maternal family of 25 people and few close friends would hire a Kolkata mini bus to travel all through the night and visit these famous pandals in Kolkata.

For those who are not from Kolkata, we have special awards that are given to the pandals and each year one tried to outdo another. There are theme based puja pandals that are spectacular in itself. A total work of art – This is a must do for at least one year.

Did you know that the first recorded durga puja was in 1757? It was organised by Raja Nabakrishna Deb of the Shobhabazar Rajbari , Kolkata. The first puja also saw Lord Clive in its esteemed Guest List. 

I believe that there are more than 200 pujas that happen here in Delhi NCR, and I have seen only a handful here.

The last Durga Puja I ever saw in Kolkata was in 2001. But I make up for it by celebrating it here in Gurgaon. Each year I have been visiting the Pandal here and it’s celebrated with amazing fanfare. This year I however wish to travel as I use to when I was a kid and see all the Pandals. In the last 5 years of Gurgaon I have done all that – this year I am expanding my travel plans to Delhi and hopefully a bit of Noida as well. I am going to list down some famous pujas that I have heard about.

Before I begin listing down some of the famous ones in Delhi, let me first share the dates of the Puja

  • Mahalaya – 12th October 2015, Monday
  • Panchmi – 18th October 2015, Sunday
  • Shashthi – 19th October 2015, Monday
  • Saptami – 20th October 2015, Tuesday
  • Mahaa-Ashtami – 21st October 2015, Wednesday
  • Mahaa-Nabami/Dashami – 22nd October 2015, Thursday

Do confirm with the pandals as some are celebrating Dashami on 23rd Oct as well

Here is the list of the pujas in Delhi, that is on my must visit list

[For list of pandals in Gurgaon, pl click here]

  1. Chittaranjan Park Kali Mandir Society, Near Main Market, Chittaranjan Park. This is an old establishment that was opened in 1973 and has been organising the durga puja for years. Probably one of the best places to visit to mesmerise yourself in the richness of the puja and Bengali culture and yummy yummy food stalls.
  2. Co-Operative Ground Durga Puja Samity, Chittaranjan Park, New Delhi. The venue address is K 2033 Chittaranjan Park (Cr Park), New Delhi – 19. Celebrating their 36th Durga Puja this year.
  3. Durga Pooja Samiti, CR Park, Mela Ground. Again in CR Park. This will be their 40th year of durga puja.
  4. Durga Puja B Block – Cittaranjan Park. B- Block Puja Ground, B – 190, Chittaranjan Park New Delhi – 110019. This was established in 1976. The best way I am told one can reach via metro to Nehru Place, which is approx. 1KM away. Plus one can grab some lunch at Oh Calcutta while there.
  5. Delhi Durga Puja Samiti, Kashmiri Gate. This is the oldest puja in town, started in 1910. It is currently held in the lawns of Bengali Sr Sec School, Alipur Road, Delhi.  It is currently held in the lawns of Bengali Sr Sec School, Alipur Road, Delhi. It was started for the “probashi” Bengali then settled in Delhi British Raj.
  6. GK 2 Durgotsab, can be reached at S-39 GK2 Greater Kailash.  They have been celebrating this festival for the past 21 years.
  7. Uday Shanker Park, E Block, Greater Kailash – 2, New Delhi – 48. This puja was started in 1991
  8. Matri Mandir Samiti Safdarjung Enclave, B-2 Block, 49th year of the pujas, they won the first prize for durga puja pandal in 2014 among many other earlier year as well.
  9. Janakpuri Bengali Associaltion Puja – at Durga Bari
  10. Dakshin Delhi Kali Bari Association, Sector-7, Ramakrishna Puram, Delhi 110022. This was established in 1967
  11. Dwarka Kali Bari , Near Metro Station Sector 12
  12. Antaranga, a socio-cultural Non-Governmental Organization in Mayur Vihar Phase-I Extn., Delhi, would be organizing Durga Puja at the DDA playground adjacent to Mayur Vihar Extension Metro Station & opposite United India Apartments. The celebrations are one of the most popular mega events in Mayur Vihar, East Delhi area
  13. Purvasha Puja Samity, Mayur Vihar , Venue: #B-308 Anandlok Society, Mayur Vihar Phase 1, Delhi Pin : 110091 , Phone Number: 0112254705