5 Durga Puja Pandals In Kolkata That You Must Visit

Durga Puja perhaps the most awaited festival of Bengal and Kolkata will live up to its sobriquet of ‘the city of joy’. Durga Puja attracts a lot of people, and the city of Kolkata comes alive for the duration of the festival.Durga Puja has forever been a larger than life affair in Bengal and has been entangled with its religious as well as cultural history.

It is that time of the year when the whole region of Bengal lights up in vibrant colors and everyone enjoys the incomprehensible feeling of togetherness. Durga Puja is the grand celebration that brings with it the familiar sound of the dhak, the beauty of the dhunuchi nach, and the engaging fragrance of Jasmine flowers.

Bengal boasts some of the most enthralling pandals with innovative themes and grand idols of goddess Durga. With more than thousand Pujas, both small and big, it is virtually impossible to enlist all of them here. So, if you are planning to go pandal-hopping during this Puja, here is a list of few of the Pujas that you simply cannot miss out on.

1. Bagbazaar Sarbojonin Durgotsav

The Puja at Bagbazaar is one of the oldest Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata has been around for more than 100 years. Back in time, it was organized outside a zamindar’s house. It is located near Bagbazaar Launch Ghat in North Kolkata. Unlike most other Pandals, the celebrations here are more traditional and a lot of emphases is laid on age-old rituals.Tthe pandal stands out for its simplicity and lack of ostentatious decorations.

Initially, the funding for the Puja usually came in from people who would willingly contribute money. The peculiar thing about this Puja is that they focus more on the rich Bengali culture and tradition. They also organize dance and art events that reflect Bengali culture in the most beautiful way possible. The Durga idol of the Bagbazar Puja Pandal is said to be one of the most beautiful ones in the city.

2. College Square Sarbojanin Durgotsav

Set close to a lake, the College Square pandal attracts huge crowds every year in part to seek blessings of Goddess Durga and in part to watch the stunning lights reflect on the calm waters of the lake. Also among the top Puja pandals in Kolkata, College Square Sarbojanin Durgotsav has been around for more than 50 years.

With impressive decorations and themes, College Square attracts thousands of visitors each day, many of whom come to witness the grand scale light decorations, the USP of the pandal. This Puja is located on the bustling College Street area in North Kolkata. With a huge pool at the center of the square, the decorations get a whole new dimension because of their reflection on the water surface.

3. Ekdalia Evergreen Durga Puja Club

Ekdalia Evergreen, since its establishment in 1943, is one of the most sought after pujas in South Kolkata. Right from the early hours of the day, you can find long serpentine queues of visitors waiting to enter the pandal. It is located near Gariahat, Ballygunge.

The one thing that attracts visitors to this Puja is the wonderful artistry that goes into the making of the pandal. The Puja mostly replicates some of the most famous temples across India. The puja committee also installs an absolutely amazing idol of Goddess Durga and that adds to the pandal’s appeal. Right from the interior decoration to the extravagant lighting, Ekdalia Evergreen Club’s Puja has something new in the store every year.

4. Sabarna Roy Chowdhury Durgotsav

This is one of the oldest traditional household pujas that you can visit. Located in Behala, Kolkata, this celebration was initiated in the year 1610 by Lakshmikanta Ray Mazumdar.

The Puja is famous for its grand rituals and devotional fervor. Their age-old wooden framework of the Durga idol still exists along with three other chalchitras or intricately designed backdrop for the idols. The immersion, which happens at Babu Ghat, is a grand ceremony and a sight to behold.

5. Shobhabazar Raj Bari Durga Puja

One more traditional household puja, the Shobhabazar Raj Bari Puja started in the year 1757 after the battle of Plassey. It is held in Shobhabazar, North Kolkata.

The puja is performed in both the houses that the family owns. Interestingly, the Durga idol is crafted inside the house and is decorated in daaker saj, ornaments made of silver and foils.

The most striking feature of this Puja is that on the day of immersion, around 60 men lend their shoulders to take the idol to the river. They also set two Indian Rollers free – the idea is to convey the message of Durga’s departure for Kailash to Lord Shiva.

Other than these, there are around 4000 odd pujas that take place in and around Bengal. Durga epitomizes strength to ward off evil and symbolizes the victory of truth.

Visiting Bengal during the Pujas will ascertain a visual treat for all, both in terms of traditional rituals, and innovative themes and idols.

About the Author
Ankit Vasisht

Along with being a freelance Travel Writer, Motivational Blogger, Speaker and Founder of 100 Percent Travel Blog, I am interested in the history and cultures of the world. A Travel and Tourism Professional with years of experience in Tourism Industry, I try to be true to myself. I believe nothing can beat words and they mean everything to me. I welcome the traveler blogger community to join hands with me and my team to make travel 100% Easier and 100% Rewarding.

Ghosts Along the Danube in Budapest, Hungary

When we travel the world we come face to face with history, some grand, and some that we would wish away if we could. This article is about the great stain on European history referred to as the Holocaust. There are many recorded stories about Holocaust horrors, and you may not be familiar with this one – we weren’t – until we came across a simple, poignant memorial.

Background

It was our first river cruise, and we chose Viking Cruise Line and an itinerary that sailed between Budapest and Bucharest in Eastern Europe.

Our ship, the Jarl, was docked and waiting for us in Budapest. We were a short walk from the famous, often photographed, Hungarian Parliament Building that was inaugurated in 1896 on Hungary’s 1000th Anniversary. If you are not familiar with this magnificent structure, you may remember it as a feature of the Viking River Cruise ads on television.

After checking into our stateroom on board the Jarl, we decided to take a stroll along the Danube to photograph the Parliament Building. Along the way we encountered a small group of people pondering over some small items lining the concrete bulkhead of the river.

The subject of interest

The objects of the group’s interest were shoes. Actually, sixty pairs of old worn shoes, all sculpted in cast iron. Men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes of the 1940s, perfect in every detail.

At first we were taken aback by the oddity of the scene and the unusual sculptures. There were no conspicuously visible signs describing what we were looking at, until we noticed a small metal marker embedded in the cement that read, “TO THE MEMORY OF THE VICTIMS SHOT INTO THE DANUBE BY THE ARROW CROSS MILITIAMEN IN 1944-45.”

So, this was a memorial, but who were the victims and who were the Arrow Cross Militiamen? We didn’t know, so we did some research.

The brief story

There were approximately 3,500 people shot along the Danube River in Budapest between 1944 and 1945 – mostly Jews and Gypsies. The site of the memorial was just one of several locations along the river bank used by the Arrow Cross in their executions of innocent people.

Members of The Arrow Cross were Hungarian fascists sympathetic to the Nazi cause. Adolf Hitler used them to replace the legitimate government of Hungary during the Nazi occupation. They ruled as the “Government of National Unity.” They were in power just eight months, from October 1944 to May 1945. During that time, they killed or sent to concentration camps 100,000 Hungarian Jews.

Why shoes as a monument?

Because they are so personal. The men, women, and children to be massacred were ordered to remove their shoes, an act that we all can relate to – and therefore, easily imagine ourselves in the same terrifying situation.

After they removed their shoes, the victims were summarily shot, and their dead or wounded bodies fell into the cold rushing river. Ironically, this egregious and repugnant act took place just 1000 feet from one of man’s greatest architectural accomplishments, the beautiful Hungarian Parliament.

If you go

The memorial is simply named, “Shoes on the Danube Promenade.” Like a visit to the Ann Frank House in Amsterdam, or the Auschwitz Camp near Krakow, Poland, a visit to the shoes in Budapest, Hungary is a moving and somber experience, and a stark reminder of the cruelty that man is capable of inflicting on his fellow human beings.

Kudos

This unique remembrance of the Budapest tragedies is the idea of Hungarian film producer Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pyauer. The display was opened to the public in 2005.

We are thankful that travel experiences generally celebrate the grandeur and beauty of our planet, and the spectacular achievements of mankind. Nevertheless, tributes like the “Shoes,” play an important role in reminding us that we must never lose sight of what can happen when evil takes the form of crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and genocide.

Synagogue in Liberec: Beauty in the Old

If you’ve been on a river cruise on the Seine, you had a glimpse of how beautiful the architecture is in Europe. Another sight to see is the neo-Renaissance synagogue in Liberec, the local called the Old, which stood north of town hall and theater. Its 39 meter high tower was the highest tower in the city, and the building itself was one of its dominants. The synagogue fell victim to the anti-Semitic hysteria, when the Liberec-based Germans fired at the Crystal Night from 9th to 10th November 1938. In its place today is the Liberec Library and the so-called New Synagogue.

Architectural Plan by Architect Karel König

Rare Jewish families lived on the territory of modern Liberec in the 14th and 15th centuries, but they were not allowed to live permanently until the beginning of the 19th century (in 1799 even Jews from the entire Liberec estate were denounced). The flowering of the Jewish community in Liberec occurred only at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, when Jewish traders quickly caught on the local textile market. In 1823 six Jewish families settled in Liberec, and the number (especially after 1848) increased steadily, in 1869 there were 314 persons of Jewish religion (1% of inhabitants), in 1930the number of Jewish inhabitants reporting their origin increased to 1392 (3%). However, it may be assumed that there were more, but in the census they stated “Czech nationality” or “German”, or in the column of religion “without religion”.

The Religious Association was established in 1863 (1861 the first church was founded, a separate NGO was established in 1872. After World War II the village was restored and in 1946 there were 1211 persons of Jewish religion (37 old-fashioned survivors and 1174 post-war camps settlers – among them 182 members of MS. foreign troops). In the 80s of the 20th century Jewish community changed to a synagogue congregation since 1989, this once again transformed into an independent municipality.

Today’s Jewish community in Liberec has about 100 members, mostly survivors of Shoah.

Synagogue Construction

Compared with other municipalities of the same size and importance, the Liberec synagogue was built relatively late, until 1899. Previously, the congregation had met in three residential homes arranged for worship. The first official rise to the status of a synagogue gave in his treatise of 1875 member municipalities Wilhelm Winterberg, but not until 1883 was the occasion of the annual meeting of the representatives of the Jewish Community set up a preparatory committee for the status of a synagogue.

Year after year, 1884, was at the committee meeting adopted a resolution on buying plots north of the square with an area of 8746 m 2, which was to serve not only to build a synagogue, but also to build a representative ornamental garden. An architectural competition was announced, to which were mentioned, among others, two very important architects of that time, Max Fleischer and prof. Karl König from Vienna.

Extinction

As reported by server holocaust.cz:

“After the Munich Agreement, Liberec became the capital of the new Sudetenland County and the seat of Konrad Henlein. From available sources, it is clear that the “arization” of Jewish property and the expulsion of the Jews took place very quickly here. Even before the “Crystal Night”, much of the local Jews fled to the interior, the synagogue was closed.

On November 11, 1938, a synagogue built in neo-Renaissance style was burned in a very representative place in the center of the recently rebuilt Liberec in 1887-88. Photos show a crowd of watchers watching the synagogue fire. The ruins of the synagogue were pulled down in 1939, a parking lot was built on its site.

At present, a modern synagogue is situated on the site of the former synagogue. It houses a small synagogue serving the present Jewish community in Liberec. It reminds of the former significance of the Jewish community in this city and, last but not least, of the “Crystal Night” event. You can include this place in your itinerary in a kosher travel plan.

An Eye-Opener About Chicago Tree Lighting and Parking

Chicago, every November celebrates a holiday tradition and the holiday season marks with Christmas tree lighting. It comes combined with Tree lighting through Magnificent Mile festival that can be found at Daley Civic Center and in the evening lights are turned on prior to Thanksgiving at the Downtown Daley Center Plaza.

Christmas in Chicago denotes tons of beautiful lights, cold weather and kids in hundreds waiting to see Santa Claus and to give their wish list. There is lots of fun in Chicago during the Christmas tree lighting festival. It features:

  • Holiday fun: The lighting of the Chicago Christmas Tree is amazing and it means to explore the Magnificent Mile festival of lights or to check out on the Daley Center Plaza the Christkindlmarket or walk across the plaza.
  • Big crowds: The Christmas tree lighting period is the early start time to invite crowds in Chicago. The Thanksgiving weekend brings people in good numbers visiting Chicago and so visitors coming with little ones need to be mindful of the heavy crowds.
  • Beautiful lights: Thousands of lights beautifully line the street and trees. Chicago Christmas tree looks adorable ornamented with lights that visitors cannot keep their cameras down.

Chicago tree lighting during Christmas is a special event not worth missing, but there are many more opportunities throughout the holidays to see Christmas tree lighting in Chicago throughout the holidays.

The popular Chicago events are the Magnificent Mile lights festival offering live musical performances for adults and kids. Adding to this, Chicago trip is complete only on taking a visit to the Millennium Park Downtown ice rink.

The Chicago tree lighting during Christmas is very special worth attending, but you must avoid the traffic and parking hassle by booking a Chicago hotel in the nearby areas.

Parking issues

Chicago parking is not easily available is a fact well-known. There are buildings providing parking in Chicago, but it is not available in all the apartments. Thus, people who are new must know about the car parking so that they do not receive a parking ticket. New comers must identify and get details about parking areas.

Chicago residents need to investigate about parking and then move to new apartments. This is because without parking renting a home is no less than a nightmare and you will have to shell out a $300 monthly fee. Many apartments have space or garages, check with them of availability before moving.

Check with zoned residential parking map. This shows the parking areas allowed for residents and also has information on who requires daily parking permit. The system also ensures the residents and guests of the residents have a preference for parking on street, thus they ensure the residents and the neighborhoods are safe.

Residents of apartments in Chicago must apply for street parking permit and having a parking sticker on the vehicle and surrendering it assures you a residential zone permit for $25 annual fee per year. This permit is a daily permit option for people wishing to stay for long-term.

Download Chicago city Street guide and obtain valuable information about ID cards, vehicle stickers and seek guidance from city personnel about parking issues.

Top 5 Must See Attractions in Bali, Indonesia

Bali is known as one of the best holiday destinations in the world. Thousands of travelers from over the world come to visit this small island in Indonesia because there are so many exciting tourist attractions in Bali.

These tourist attractions aren’t just the wonderful beach of Kuta, but there are also incredible landscapes that can be found all around Bali and the exotic culture of Balinese people.

If you choose Bali as your next traveling destination, then you must read this post because you’ll find exciting main tourist attractions in Bali and Bali is one of the best attractions in Indonesia.

1. The Iconic Temple of Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot is widely known as the place of the most iconic Temple in Bali. This temple is located on the top of a big rock which is surrounded by the sea.

You’ll impress yourself when you saw this temple for the first time. The sound of the waves that crashing on the base of the big rock will be the background music that calming your mind. Moreover, you’ll see the best sunset view in your life from this place.

2. Uluwatu Temple

Aside from The Temple of Tanah Lot, Uluwatu temple is another iconic temple in Bali that worth to visit. Standing on the cliff edge in southwestern Bukit peninsula, this temple has attracted many tourists to come and enjoy a beautiful blue ocean landscapes from this temple. Uluwatu temple also the best place to view a beautiful sunset.

3. Besakih Temple

The largest temple in Bali that also known as ‘the mother of temples’ by the local people is another place that worth to visit when you come to Bali. It’s located in Mount Agung, the famous mountain in Bali.

What makes this temple more unique than other temples are that there are eighteen separated sanctuaries which belonging to a different caste. And there are three main temples which are dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

4. Monkey Forest in Ubud

Visiting Bali isn’t always mean to enjoy the beautiful beach, tanning your skin under the tropical sun, or visiting the exotic temple. There is a sacred forest which is called as Monkey Forest in Ubud.

Just like its name, many monkeys live in this forest. You’ll get a unique experience when visiting this forest. There are a lot of long-tailed gray monkeys welcome you and want to play with you.

5. Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

If you want to enjoy the exotic Bali village and the truly wonderful landscape which will make your friends jealous when you’re uploading the picture with the landscape as the background, then you must visit Jatiluwih rice terraces.

This place is located in the west area of Bali island. You’ll be impressed by the breathtaking natural panoramas of the rice terraces with Mount Batur as the background. It’s very worth to visit especially if you don’t go to a crowded place like Kuta Beach or Ubud art market. I suggest for one time in your life to visit Bali because Bali is one of the best tourist attractions in Indonesia.

The friendly face of the locals will welcome you as you walking around this area. You’ll absolutely won’t leave this place once you come and enjoy its beautiful nature. Just for an information to you, what and where is Bali? Bali is one of the provinces that located in Indonesia.

That are top 5 places to see and visit if you are planning a vacation in Bali and Indonesia is a good choice to your next destination because Indonesia located in a strategic location in Asia Continent.

Capture Indonesia is an Indonesia Travel website that provides information about Tourism in Indonesia. Including the best tourist attractions, places to visit in Indonesia, and the best Indonesia foods. This sector is a crucial component of the Indonesian economy along with a significant source of its foreign exchange revenues.