Celebrate in Style
BONEDI BARI PUJO WALK
Ultimate guide to the pujos this season
TO MANY, DURGA PUJA in Kolkata has come to mean wading through traffic to get to the pandals teeming with people. But in another part of Kolkata, pujas are all about traditions that are nearly centuries old. Puja festivities in family homes have an intimacy that is missing in the Baraowari Pujo (public funded pujas).
Calcutta Walks, one of the first companies to host city walks in Kolkata hosts a Bonedi Bari Pujo walk every year. They take tourists to a select few of these iconic home pujas where one can watch the festivities up close while being regaled with stories of their origin and vignettes of their past. “There is a saying about how goddess Durga comes to wear her jewellery in Jorasanko Dawn house. The family was known to
have bought not just a lot of gold but also diamonds and emeralds from Europe in their heydays,” says Anirban Dutta, an explorer from Calcutta Walks.
The walk begins early in the morning on a chosen day with explorers meeting outside Girish Park Metro Station. Walkers are then taken to the famous pujas nearby, including two, at the Dawn household, the two Deb family pujas, Pathurighata’s Khelat Ghosh’s pujo and Shobhabazar Raj Bari. Each family celebrates in a different style, with different rituals and one gets a taste of the real thing up close. At the end of the walk, explorers are served a typical vegetarian bhog or meal.
While monuments and history books remain, intangibles like these that are part of the city’s heritage are slowly losing currency. “We had more than 100 members participating in the puja festivities before. Now with nuclear families and people moving out of the city our numbers have dwindled to 25,” says Pashupati Roy, the 79-year- old head of the Roy household in Colootola near Burrabazar. The family will be celebrating its 161st Durga Puja this year.
ON OCTOBER 15 -19
PRICE `3500 per person WEB calcuttawalks.com
AT Roy Bari, Kabiraj Row Lane, (opposite school of tropical medicine)
Cover photograph by SUBIR HALDER Wardrobe NEE & OINK Make up MALAY ROY Location ROY BARI
Calcutta Walks explorer Anirban Dutta (third from left) with tourists at a Pujo bari