Stepping into 2019; with Hope

Happy New Year 2019 to everyone reading this piece. I am writing after several months ; most of this time was spent in self introspection, travel and reading. I stepped into 2019 with hope thanks to a teenager who I have carried in my arms and never realized when time flew by and she transformed into a thoughtful young lady.

Sometime in December 2018 ; my 15 year old niece Ira who is a 9th grader in Stonehill International School in Bangalore came up with the idea of helping to rebuild a school library. This was a part of her project through 1M1B (1Million 1 Billion) initiative aligned with the UN Sustainability Development Goal. Her broader project area was on floods, causes, prevention and the aftermath of the devastation. While doing her research she came across a news paper article about a school library of a century old school in Chendamangalam, Kerala devastated by the floods.

DDSHS Karimpadam established in 1912 catered to English and Malayalam medium students from the age of 5 to 15 and was an established name in that area. Ira gathered the contact details of the school through net search and sent a mail to them expressing her desire to help. The school was more than eager to hear from a young student in Bangalore who wanted to come to their aid. She told her parents that she wanted to spend her Christmas and New Year break working on this project rather than take yet another comfortable holiday and they readily obliged.

Her parents encouraged her enthusiasm and Ira visited the school accompanied by her mother as soon as her Christmas vacations started. She interacted with the students, clicked pictures, and noted down their needs. She had to collect nearly 1700 books (1000 in English and 700 in Malayalam) as well as raise funds for reconstructing the library area. In conversation, she also realized that the older students could do better with some counselling and career guidance which she had the access to as a privileged international school pupil.

  • She created a flyer that she circulated to  friends, family and friends of friends for books that would be suitable for children in the age group of 5-15 and in a short span of time has managed to collect 750+ books which are now being sorted and categorized to be transported to the school
  • She is working with a startup who have a socio-psychological assessment and well being app for general and career counselling of the students so that they could do a program in the school; https://nsmiles.com
  • She is raising money to reconstruct the library along with an NGO Sahayog Foundation

In conversation, she mentioned that all the books that lie in our shelves gathering dust; could be used by someone somewhere  to gain knowledge, laugh on a gloomy day or time travel to another land then it would have met its purpose.

When you are on the other side of 40 and someone years younger than you, who has grown up in front of you inspires you to get moving, to give back to the world from where you get; you know that it is time to fill yourself with hope; that the future is indeed in the right hands.

I toast 2019 to Ira and several ones like her in different parts of the world; who are trying to make a difference with their efforts and inspiring others around them. If you want to know more/ or donate books for the school or lend a helping hand please contact

Ira Ratnaparkhe : iraratnaparkhe@gmail.com

 

 

Deoriatal and Chopta Chandrashila Trek

Sometime in February; when the winter sun was blazing down in Bangalore; I was yearning for the mountains. I toyed between a quick drive to the Nilgiris, a couple of hours away or make way to the Himalayas for a week. I finally zeroed in on Chopta Chandrashila Trek after comparing numerous short treks like Kuari Pass; Brahmatal etc. This trek also includes a camping night by the Deoriatal and a stop at Tungnath the highest Shiva Temple. This is a far easier trek than what I have done in the past but this time around all I wanted was to spend a few days in the lap of Himalayas and not do anything touristy.Chopta Chandrashila Trek

  • Duration:5 Days ; Location: Starts in Rishikesh/Haridwar and ends at the same location
  • Highest Altitude: 13100 feet. ; Difficulty Level – Low
  • Views: Deoria Tal; Tungnath the highest Shiva Temple; 360 degree view of the mountain range of which Mt Chaukhamba is the centre point.
  • Best Time:
    • Dec-Feb: Typical Winter Trek with lots of snow
    • March-May – Spring Summer Blooms specially Rhododendrons and very pleasant weather though afternoons can be very warm
    • Sep-Nov- Autumnal Clear Sky; cool weather and clear views of the mountain ranges
  • Travel Tip: This trek can be done in shorter time like 3-4 days if you choose to drive most part of it.
  • Health Tip: Though this is an easy trek but would strongly recommend to plan your physical schedule a month in advance climbing steps; running or other cardio exercise for 30 minutes and strengthening exercise for the legs -3 days a week. The last stretch of the peak climb can be a challenge and the view from Chandrashila is spectacular. AMS can strike anyone so keep drinking water and munching pop corn to remain healthy
  • Trek Guide: I joined a group trek with Trek The Himalayas
5 days of Bliss on the Chopta Chandrashila Trek

Day 1: Driving to Sari at 6600 Feet

Drive from Rishikesh to Sari Village; distance of 200 kms covered in about 8-9 hours with generous breaks for breakfast and lunch. Until Rudraprayag; the road winds upwards along the Ganga and then Alaknanda. The view of the river winding through the mountain ranges is a breathtaking sight; something that I could watch all day and let the world go by.

Day 2 : Trekking to Deoriatal at 7800 Feet

Sari is a pretty village and the terraced cultivation fields in different shades of green make it even prettier. The steps leading to Deoriatal are right in the middle of Sari Village and a few houses have been converted to home stays for trekkers and travelers who want to experience the beauty of the mountains. After gorging on spongy Aloo Parathas we set out for Deoriatal. Though it is just about 2 kms away; but the climb is steep and may take about 1 to 2 hours. We camped by the lake in the afternoon and strolled around at sunset soaking in the sudden splash of showers.

Chopta Chandrashila Trek

Mythology: While some believe this lake is Indra Sarovar as referred in the Puranas where divine beings came to take a dip while others believe that the Pandavas passed this way and Bhim dug this lake to quench his thirst.

Day 3: Deoriatal to Chopta via Rohini Bugyal at 7800 feet

I walked along the lake in the morning in the hope of spotting Himalayan birds but all I experienced was blissful chirping. The reflection of the Chaukhamba Peak in the still waters of the lake is a picture perfect moment.Chopta Chandrashila Trek

It is the longest day of the trek in terms of distance (16kms) but this trudge through mountain sides and meadows was a relatively easy trail.Soon after breakfast we walked along the left bank of the lake towards the mountains. Within minutes of crossing the lake the entire vista opens up on either side. On the right there were different hues of green along terraced fields dotted with specks of color from the local houses and on the left snow covered Mount Chaukhamba along with a range of peaks was resplendent under the morning sun.Chopta Chandrashila Trek

Chopta Chandrashila TrekI took a short break to admire the beauty of nature and chatted up with local women who climbed up through steep tracks from nearby villages including Sari to gather firewood. Its almost a daily chore for them to keep the home fires burning, their immense capacity for hard work and physical endurance comes from the zest to overcome all difficulties. I watched in awe as they gently tip toed through the bushes wearing flat soled slippers, climbing trees in a jiffy with sarees tied tightly around their waist chopping dead leaves and branches. For the next 2 hours we walked with the views of mountains(Nanda Devi, Trishul, Nandaghunti, Kamet, Dronagiri, Chaukhamba, Kedar dome, Thalaysagar, Gangotri ranges, Jahanukut etc.) on the left.Chopta Chandrashila Trek

Around 1 pm we reached Rohini Bugyal, a vast open meadow surrounded by brightly colored rhododendron trees. The blooming season had just started in March and it was already a bright splash of colors. After rolling on the grass for a while, we slowly trudged towards our campsite which was on a meadow at the base of the mountains.

Day 4: Chopta to Tungnath-Chandrashila and back at 13000 feet

The camp site is beautiful; but sleeping on a slope is never so easy. After a night of tossing and turning; I looked forward to day break to trek up to Tungnath and Chandrashila. Tungnath is also known as Tritiya Kedar ; one of the revered Pancha Kedars and attracts many devotees during season due to its easy accessibility. The paved pathway upwards began with a gentle ascent and soon turned a bit steep. There was snow on either side and at one point I felt I was trudging through a snow field.Chopta Chandrashila TrekChopta Chandrashila Trek

After an hour; I could see the spire of the temple and it seemed to be within reach. There is something about the human mind which instantly gets energized with a destination in sight. The temple was closed but the courtyard was accessible. This is one of the temples believed to have been originally built by the Pandavas in obeisance to Lord Shiva to atone their sins of killing their kith and kin in the Kurukshetra war. We spent some time sitting around before making the climb to Chandrashila.Chopta Chandrashila TrekChopta Chandrashila Trek Deoriatal

The climb to Chandrashila (Moon Rock) is short, steep and arduous. It was about 45 mins of rigorous cardio exercise negotiating through melting snow, rocks and slush. The 360 degree panoramic views from the top are mesmerising to say the least.Chopta Chandrashila Trek

I walked along the ridge with the wind on my face and then settled myself on a rock for a few moments of quiet contemplation.  There was something ethereal about the place and am sure sunrise would have been an excellent experience though I could make it there at noon.Chopta Chandrashila Trek

Descent was easy but I took my time, measuring each step to prevent tripping and slipping. A Monal appeared on the way and disappeared as quickly before I could get to focus my camera.Chopta Chandrashila Trek

Day 5: Chopta to Rishikesh

The return journey to the plains is always one of mixed emotions. The bus ride through mountain terrains through tiny hamlets and small towns is yet another aspect of multi cultural India. Young children on their way to school waved by holding small flags and palanquins decorated with Rhododendrons (Buransh). They were celebrating the arrival of spring in the hills as the mountain sides turned a blazing riot of colors with rhododendron blooms. We made a customary stop at Dev Prayag watching over the quiet Alaknanda and the effervescent Bhagirathi merging to form the Ganga. Every time I am there, the sight of the formation of Ganga stirs a vortex of emotions as she winds down through the mountains towards the plains, flowing over rocks, stones, sand and mud to sustain life !!Chopta Chandrashila Trek

Alternative Routes for this Trek 
  1. Option 1: Combine it with trip to Kedarnath and drive up to the base of Tungnath. Trek up to Chandrashila and Tungnath in a day
  2. Option 2: Public Transport/Shared Vehicle/ Private Car
    1. Drive up to Sari; stay overnight in a hotel/homestay
    2. Trek up to Deoriatal for sunrise and descend by lunch. Drive to Chopta and stay in a hotel/homestay
    3. Trek to Tungnath/Chandrashila

 

For Other Himalayan Treks

 

 

“Urby” to my rescue to keep my Passport safe

My absent minded self which often emerges during my travels have led to a few funny and more than a dozen tensed situations. These incidents have occurred at regular intervals in different cities in India and overseas so much so that I earned “Bhulakkad” or “Absent Minded” as my middle name. At the same time, I have been extremely lucky to recover my lost items every time albeit after a few tensed moments and a good lecture 🙂 from varied folks.

Lost and Found:

My stories range from leaving behind my wallet in Los Angeles Airport; my mobile in a Swiss train, my back pack in a resto pub in Krakow and recently my wallet in a busy Mcleodganj Monastery to name a few.  Perhaps it is my Karma or Karmic connection that I have always got back what I lost after a few tensed moments and a lesson on how to be alert and take care of my belongings. Some of these incidents came with their dose of fun too when a store staff was trying to return my credit card that I had left behind and I happily assumed that he was just stalking me and raced ahead until he screamed and caught up with me 🙂

That Embarassing Moment:

By now you have guessed that every time I travel, apart from the currency notes and cards I have several copies of my passport tucked away in different pockets of my bags lest I land up at the doorstep of an Indian Embassy. During a very recent trip I had kept my passport very carefully within the folds of my notebook that I carry around to scribble tit bits. I had chosen to be extra careful that day so placed it in the note book instead of the usual zip pocket of my hand bag. I had to produce it at the border crossing between Croatia and Hungary a few hours later by which time I had forgotten all about it. I confidently proceeded to the Immigration only to fumble around my bag to find it. A good 15 minutes later when the officials were nearing their end of patience and I was breaking into a sweat at the prospect of being deported and a million images of the passport being pick pocketed or lost racing through my mind, I found it neatly kept within the notebook. I heaved a sigh of relief, forcing a smile and blurting out Sorry’s at a speed that would put Bullet Trains to shame. The officials were kind enough to allow me to pass through  not before a lecture; thankfully in a language that I did not understand.

Urby to my Rescue:

During the rest of the journey to Budapest, I was busy trying to fathom a strategy to avoid further embarrassment which could lead to unwanted situations. I decided to return home and pin all my 4 passports together so that I could move around with the jumbo pack which would not be easily missed. Just as I was returning to India, I had a message from Monica of Urby who wanted me to experience their custom labeled passport holder. Oops; it seemed like telepathy as if the divine was freeing me from the ordeal of pinning and carrying all my passports and sending me a passport holder. Frankly, I never thought about it.Urby Passport Holder

Urby Passport HolderI loved the dusty brown (at times I can be color blind) passport holder with my name embossed on it which was sent by Urby. It came in a neat cloth bag tucked into a paper box. My passport snugly fitted into it and it gave it the necessary thickness as well as the protection from possible damage due to anything spilling over accidentally or otherwise. It is very good quality leather from the feel and the slightly wrinkled look. The stitches at the edge is uniform and neat giving it a classy finish.Urby Passport Holder

The best part is the slant pocket at the back which is good to slip in a card, a currency bill or a few coins for emergency. It is of great help for someone like me who by now you know is famous for leaving her wallet around.Urby Passport Holder

Go click and pop into Urby Online Store for a peek into their passport holders annd other lifestyle accessories. They are committed to designing, manufacturing and retailing these stylish products from their website at affordable prices. If you are like me in need of that extra attention to your essential documents, money etc during travel do take a look at these passport holders.

Urby | Travel & Lifestyle Essentials | Wallets for Men, Jewellery Box, Passport Holder, Watch Case

Travel & Lifesyle Essentials

Why Cellular Jail in India is more than a National Memorial

I was born in post Independent India and grew up in the 80’s of Kolkata. Storytelling afternoons with a dadu (grand uncle) who lived with us were nearly always about Indian Independence. In between the stories of his childhood that revolved around ponds and trees in his small village he spoke of his teacher and a friend who had joined the Swadeshi movement to free India from the Imperial Raj. The freedom heroes he spoke about seemed to be men next door with a flaming passion for the motherland. They endured deep torture in the hands of the British masters for rebellion and heroism. Many were incarcerated in different prisons across the country. There was one Prison in a distant land, somewhere in the middle of the ocean in Andaman Island often referred as “Sazaa e Kala Paani” the prison sentence across the seas from where few or rather none returned. This infamous prison is Cellular Jail in Port Blair which was our first stop during a recent visit to Andaman.Cellular Jail in Port Blair

Why the name “Cellular Jail”

There are exhibition halls on either side of the entrance where pictures, memorabilia and stories related to the inmates and their struggles within the Cellular Jail are displayed. The miniature model of Cellular Jail encased in a glass box caught my attention. The building was designed like the spokes of the bicycle with 7 spokes or buildings comprising 3 Floors with rows of tiny rooms or cells. The guards kept watch over all the 696 cells from the tower in the centre of the spokes. These 15 ft by 7 feet cells had a small window located high on the wall and the inmates were served food through a gap on the wall. The Cellular Jail was constructed over a period of 10 years between 1896 and 1906 by the rebels of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 with bricks brought from Burma.Cellular Jail in Port Blair

Walking around the Cellular Jail Complex

The entrance opens out into a courtyard which is in between 2 spoke like buildings. The first thing that strikes is the demonstrated image of the man being sent to the gallows. Cellular Jail in Port BlairThere is a small workshed in the centre with life like installations demonstrating the day in a life of an inmate. It was torture, torture and more torture on the whims and fancy of the British Master.Cellular Jail in Port Blair

I could feel anger well up within the pit of my stomach for such demonstrated inhuman behavior.They were flogged, chained or given nearly impossible laborious tasks of churning oil or pounding husks to extract fibre. It is humanely impossible to manually churn 30 pounds of coconut oil and 10 pounds of mustard oil in a day.

I paid a quick visit to the area demarcated as the erstwile gallows and stepped into the building which was one of the spokes. As I walked along the long corridor, I peeped into the small cells. The lone windows perched high up on the wall was barely enough to get a glimpse of the sky, to hear the bird song and know the season. At the end of the corridor there are names of inmates and the states they belonged to inscribed on a pillar and along the walls.Cellular Jail in Port Blair

This was repeated on all the floors and most of them seemed to belong to Bengal. The known unknown names on these walls may just be a statistic for most but without their supreme sacrifice and contribution we may have experienced a different future.

On the 2nd Floor, I visited the room where Veer Savarkar spent his days of imprisonment. His pictures still adorning the wall and a few floral homages around. The airport in Port Blair is named after him in memory of his contribution to Indian Independence. Incidentally, his brother Babarao Savarkar was also confined in the cellular jail at the same time but they had no contact. The next level is the terrace which opens out towards the sea. The cool sea breeze was pleasant on my face and partially succeeded in diverting my attention away from the anger that was welling up as I pondered over the past. I forced myself to focus on the sunset instead which seemed to have a calming effect; the end of something giving way to the new and a day consigned to history

Brave Sons of India in Cellular Jail

Some of the famous and popular names were Batukeshwar Dutt; Barin Ghosh, Sohan Singh, Vaman Rao Joshi, Biren Sen, Jatish Pal, Yogendra Shukla, Nand Gopal, Maulana Ahmadullah, Diwan Singh, Fazl – e- Haq Khairabadi and many more. Ref Wikipedia 

Cellular Jail in Port Blair

Cellular Jail ~ Light and Sound Show

Later that evening; during the Light and Sound show; the anger that had taken shape was further aggravated after hearing the narration of various incidents. The prisoners were denied the right to relieve themselves and had to seek permission which was mostly denied. Some prisoners succumbed to losing their mind and some revolted against the inhuman torture and went on a fast they were force fed to death. The force feeding led to choked windpipes and food and water entering the lungs. Mohan Kishore Namdas, Mohit Maitra and Mahavir Singh succumbed to death as a consequence of this inhuman act. I had already seen their statues in the park opposite to the Cellular Jail Complex. My eyes welled up in the dark and almost everyone reached out to the edges of their saree, dupatta or handkerchief. Some of the inmates surrendered with their lives under extreme torture with on their lips as the dying wish and yet others just lived through it to see the Tiranga our National Flag fly higher than the Union Jack.The sacrifice of these young men confined here and countless others led to the hoisting of our tricolor on 15th August, 1947 !! The evening after, was one of gratitude; looking up at the sky and thanking the stars to have been born in a free country and the right to live my own way.

  • Light and Sound Shows are held for an hour twice in the evening at 6pm and 7.15 pm. The Second show is in English only on 3 days during the week Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Priced at Rs 50/- per person; tickets are obtained from the counter at the entrance. Free seating so queue up early to grab a good place.
Visit to Cellular Jail is a Pilgrimage

Cellular Jail in Port Blair and Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar are perhaps the only 2 memorials which connect to Indian Independence. Rest of them are more historical in nature with architectural significance. A Visit to Cellular Jail in Port Blair is more like a pilgrimage with respect and thanksgiving for presenting us a free India. It was dedicated to the nation as a National Memorial in 1979 by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai. 

For the children of the 21st century Cellular Jail is just another National Memorial. Born several years after Independence, they do not relate to slavery and subjugation. Independence Day is like any other day but to fly the flag, to perform a drill and sing the anthem and 15th August 1947 is just another date in History. We need to evoke passion and thanksgiving in them for the men and women who gave up their today for our tomorrow. I wish to see more school trips from mainland India to Cellular Jail in Andamans for a first hand brush with history and the very existence of post independent India.

Travel Tip
  • Cellular Jail is in the heart of Port Blair and is easily accessible by car and auto. The adjoining park is a must visit where life like statues of freedom heroes have been installed.
  • Open all days except National Holidays; from 9am to 4.45pm. it will take about an hour to go around. Recommend hiring a guide to go around to get a perspective on history
  • Entry tickets can be purchased at the gate. Currently it is Rs 30/- per person. They are reluctant to accept cash (good) and hence be ready to buy with card or e-wallets
  • The views from the terrace are gorgeous and would highly recommend climbing the flight of stairs.
  • Light and Sound Shows are held for an hour twice in the evening at 6pm and 7.15 pm. The Second show is in English only on 3 days during the week Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Priced at Rs 50/- per person; tickets are obtained from the counter at the entrance. Free seating so queue up early to grab a good place.
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The Unmissable 20 Kolkata Durga Pujas in 2017

Durga Puja has evolved over the decades from being an annual religious festival to one of art and culture. This year too, I traveled across Kolkata, pandal hopping from one corner to another experiencing the grandeur of Durga Puja. I marveled at the art on display some of which left me overwhelmed by the sheer creativity and finesse. These are my unmissable 20 Kolkata Durga Pujas in 2017. Every piece of art is a labor of creativity, expression of an idea that can hardly be compared but some of them did leave an impression leading to this list. This 5 day annual affair is a visual treat and all for free and perhaps one of its kind on this planet. I would urge everyone to experience this fervor and grandeur at least once. Mark your calendar for the coming year – Durga Puja will be held between 15th October 2018 and 19th October 2018.

Changing Face of Annual Durga Puja

In the 18th and 19th century, The 5 day Durga Puja was an expensive affair which was conducted by the zamindars and rich business men in the confines of their homes which was attended by others. With the turn of the 20th century the community celebrations better known as “Barowari “ were started generally held by local clubs and organizations with donations and subscriptions raised from people in the nearby areas. The Barowari Pujas were later known as Sarbojonin and slowly increased in number from mid 20th century, The ones with contacts would display a banner or festoon of a local business or print them in the brochure for some additional funding.

In 1985, Asian Paints introduced a competitive flavor in Kolkata Durga Puja with the “Sharad Shamman Awards” rewarding the best Pujas for the all round presentation. This was a marketing game changer as brands realised the effectiveness, reach and visibility during Pujas. With multiple corporate houses, brands and media houses joining the awards and sponsorship fray with mega bucks it slowly transformed into a carinval style art and culture festival. The bamboo and cloth pandals soon transformed into installation art galleries designed on themes and the idol makers took the leap of faith as their imagination took flight to create arty Durga idols. This changing face of Durga Puja has been driven by students of Art who have created, curated and executed these ideas ensuring livelihood for themselves and the hundreds of artisans from the villages who would otherwise abandon these in the hope of earning money through daily labor. 

Themes Portrayed in Kolkata Durga Puja 2017

This year Maa Durga came early to planet earth with her entourage but that was hardly a deterrent for the organizers, artists, idol makers to display their best. Durga Puja in Kolkata is the best time to watch installation art themed on contemporary issues. Sometimes the message is communicated through the idols but most times it is about the pandals (canopies) where she is housed which serve as mini exhibitions for lost art, reflections of changing times, burning concerns or a journey down memory lane.

  • Global Warming, Nature and Pollution

This seems to have been one of the pet themes this year and I was amazed to watch the myriad representations of depleting green cover, global warming, water conservation, minimizing use of fuel and of course effective recycling.

  • Art and Nostalgia

Over the years; I have been overwhelmed at the display of art, some lost and re discovered, a few experiments and a few unique representations. The walk down memory lane with the evolution of music or the modes of communication was a visual treat in a few pandals.

  • Human Existence and Harmony

The presentations varied from the beauty of Unified India, religious harmony, inclusivity of differently abled individuals, allowing freedom of expression to children, crusade against child labour, child trafficking and allowing them to grow up in a world without fear

  • Large Installations:

These are the Pujas who have remained largely unaffected by the changing times, focusing on large installations of replicas of famous monuments giving the visitors a free tour of a distant land. This year too there was a replica of a palace shown in a movie, Thai Temple, Buckingham Palace and images of US.

10 Unmissable Pandals of Kolkata Durga Puja 2017

The Global Warming theme with the earth on fire and the idol emerging from the deep sea was a treat for the eyes in Abasar

The pandal was based on cycles urging everyone to minimise the use of fuel in Beliaghata 33 Pally almost made me want to go cycling

The colorful pandal portraying the art, culture and monuments of India was a visual journey of unity in diversity in Alipore Sarbojonin

The intricately designed Palanquin in Mudiali Club was a sight to behold

The pandal in Rupchand Lane in Bhawanipore was complete with beautiful Pattachitra Paintings of Durga. The pandal, idol and the execution of art were all women of different faiths who came together to put this together

Kumortuli is the heart of idol making in Kolkata and the Puja Pandal was all about the making of the goddess with mud, frames, brushes, paints strewn all over. It resembled a workshop.

The replica of Thailand’s White Temple was sitting pretty in Deshapriya Park was a visual delight

The neighbouring pandal in Tridhara was made of old packaging boxes promoting the theme of recycling and best out of waste

Ecological concerns projected by Tala Barowari was a journey 50 years into the future if we continue to abuse nature without a care

Nalini Sarkar Street Pandal was a walk through of a ManoVikas Kendra spreading the message of inclusivity and need for kindness to the mentally differently abled. The entire set up was a walk down memory lane with different modes of communication.

10 Unmissable Idols of Kolkata Durga Puja 2017

Maa Durga was holding a weak child in her arms in Nalini Sarkar Street pandal with the message to stand by the weakest.

She had a firm resolve of being in control in Ahiritola

The blooming face of the idol lit up the pandal in Haridebpur Ajeya Sanghati made from all kinds of metal waste.

This is the way I have always imagined her, loved her and prayed to her; the all pervasive powerful one clad in a 22 kg Gold Saree in Santosh Mitra Sq pandal resembling Buckingham Palace. 

She had the childlike charm in BakulBagan illuminating the bamboo structure

The carved image in Mahagony wood is a museum piece. A brilliant piece of art from Chetla that needs to be conserved for the years to come.

The kindness in her eyes in Barisha cannot be missed

The simplicity of the idol exuded brilliance in Suruchi Sangha

The beautiful bronze hued goddess in Hindustan Park was beauty personified with a calm and confident air around her

The pure terracotta idols in Prafulla Kanan in a simple village set up amidst the high rises was one of its kind and completely different from the rest. 

Durga Puja 2017 Photo Album

Just in case you are interested the complete photo album of the famous and popular pujas held in Kolkata is included in the list.

Kolkata Durga Puja 2017

Pictures of pandals and images of Durga Puja 2017

North: Tala, Bagbazar, Kumortuli, Ahiritola, Hatibagan, Kashi Bose and Chaltabagan

North East: Sreebhumi, DumDum Park, Ultadanga, Beliaghata

Central: Santosh Mitra Sq, Sealdah, College Sq, Mohd Ali Park

South West: Behala, Chetla, Alipore, Haridebpur, Suruchi Sangha

South: Ekdalia, Bosepukur, Hindustan Park, Babubagan, Jodhpur Park, Kalighat, Ballygunj, Bhawanipur, Mudiali, Santoshpur, Rashbehari, Gariahat, Tridhara

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