This year, the Bengal government is ready with 15 different trips across the state to showcase Durga Puja. The Bengali’s best festival has long been an attraction for tourists visiting Bengal. With new policies in hand, the state is looking to entice the foreign tourists, setting aside the primordial perception that overseas tourists won’t relate with Hindu culture.
The footfall of foreign tourists and tourists from other states has recently increased in Bengal. Recently, a global e-Payment major published the list where Kolkata stands in 62 among top 100 destinations. The annual festivity starts here with Durga Puja in September-October, which lasts till the end of year.
The West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation (WBTDC) is providing the trips, three of which are within Kolkata. From Mahalaya to Bijoya Dashami – Idol Immersion will be brandished in a new way.
The tour Udbodhani, which is basically Pre-Puja whole night tour, covering some of the famous Pujas – College Square, Kashi Bose Lane, Hatibagan Sarbajanin, Bagbazar Sarbajanin, Badamtala Ashar Sangha, 66th Palli, Mudiali Club, Ekdalia Evergreen, Singhi Park, Park Circus. The tour (October 5, 6 and 7) will start from 10 pm and will be concluded at 6 am next day. The trip will cost Rs 1,650 and will also include dinner as well.
The Sanatani – I package will take the tourists to some traditional households -- Khelat Ghosh Bari, Sovabazar Raj Bari, Chhatubabu Latubabur Puja, Chandra Bari, Rani Rashmoni Bari and Thanthania Dutta Bari. The trip (October 8, 9, 10) will start at 8 am and will conclude around 12.30 – 1.00 pm. It will cost around Rs 1,050-Rs 1,375. The additional attractions are breakfast and bhog, which is included in the package.
The third trip in Kolkata, Sanatani – II package (October 8, 9, 10) will also take the visitors to traditional households. But this trip will be conducted in the afternoon (2.00 pm – 2.30 pm) and concluded in evening (6.00pm-6:30pm). Snacks will be also given.
However, the segment of traditional Durga Pujas in city’s outskirts includes six different segments. Those are in the Hooghly district, Rarhbanger Puja package I and II includes Borsul and Guskora in Hooghly. Surul Raj Barir Puja at Birbhum and Kashim Bazar Rajbarir Puja at Murshidabad will also add to this trip’s glory. Additionally, a Bijoya package will be added to Bisnupur, Joyrambati, Kamarpukur and Mukutmanipur.
The cost will be around Rs 2,000-4,700, varying on different trips. The website of WBTDC, will give the details about itinerary.
Sreerampur Goswami Bari, Buri Durga, Sheoraphuli Surendra Nath Ghosh’s house 105-year-old Puja, Sheoraphuli Rajbari’s 300-year-old Puja, Hanseswari Temple and terracottah, Temple of Ananta Basudev in Hooghly, Guptipara’s 562-year-old Durgabari Puja, Guptipara Senbari, temples of Kalna will be some places where tourists will visit.
WBTDC, however, developed a North Bengal package in this Puja to give the tourists an exposure to hills. The Rajbari of Cooch Behar, Malbazar forest, safari of Medhla are the attractions.
“We are getting a great response. We have already received reservation over 80 per cent in each of the trips. The tourists can reserve their seats via online, authorised travel agents and coming in our tourism centre,” said Amitabha Ghosh, Deputy General Manager (Operations), WBTDC.
The state tourism department officers are displaying the immersions to the tourists, specially the foreigners. Mahadashami, the concluding day of the Durga puja will be presented as the end of grand carnival.
The officers who have working on project said that the divinity of the Durga maa, the cultural and religious background of the puja, the history is all included in the curriculum made by department. But the immersion ceremonies deserve special attention.