Kumortuli: Where Goddesses are made

Kolkata is a photographer’s delight; each moment and place is a frame, and with mouth-watering food available at every corner, it’s truly the ‘City of Joy’! 🙂 My first visit to Kolkata was a stopover for a few hours and all I remember are the delicious mutton rolls at College Street and coffee at Flurys, the famous bakery at Park Street. Recently a road trip to the easternmost part of India, Arunachal Pradesh, brought me here again and this time I decided to explore the city for more than just the yummy food!

The most iconic landmark of the city, the Howrah bridge also called Rabindra Setu after the poet Rabindranath Tagore, is a huge structure made of steel. I would recommend a walk on the Howrah bridge to cross over river Hooghly and take a ferry ride back, over a sunset.

Hooghly, a tributary of the Ganges River flows through Kolkata and empties into the Bay of Bengal. An evening cruise across the Hooghly River and a walk on the bridge at sunset is a great way to experience the everyday grind of the city. The local ferries shuttle people across the river everyday. With a backdrop of the massive Howrah Bridge on one side and the Vidyasagar Setu on the other, the city glows golden at sun down. I think Mumbai should have one of these short distance ferries too; it would help the traffic on the roads!

On the banks of Hooghly, in North Kolkata is a labyrinth of narrow lanes, older than the city and full of vibrant color and art, Kumortuli – the potter’s colony, where idols of Gods and Goddesses are made from scratch for the Hindu festival of Durga Puja. Various artists work on different stages of sculpting, painting & decorating the idol of Goddess Durga in the workshops here. Deeply engrossed in the making of the Goddess, they look meditative. A few pictures from the Potter’s town of Kumortuli in Kolkata.

From the streets of Kumortuli to the puja pandal, the Goddesses transform and come to life! Once at the pandal, adorned with jewels & flowers the goddesses look gorgeous, almost real! I haven’t had the opportunity yet to visit Kolkata during Durga-puja but on one of my trips back home, I got a glimpse of the festive Durga Puja celebrations at Chittaranjan Park, Delhi. The small details of the puja pandals and the Gods & Goddesses are decorated intricately according to different themes; all of them are breathtakingly beautiful!

Even though I was busy ogling the beautifully done set-up for the puja, my mind was on the food! There are street food stalls around the pandal and the aroma of yummy food is in the air. I love the kebab & rolls, and the paan – betel leaf with areca nut.

The most delicious home-made Bengali food I’ve had was at a friend’s wedding in Kolkata; and the thali at Kewpie’s in Kolkata is the next when I got to relish a whole spread of authentic Bengali cuisine. It took a while to figure out where the restaurant was located, as it looks like any other house on that lane, but from inside the restaurant feels like home, and the food is finger-licking good!

While binging on food, I looked up the tree, pretty with all the lights. Playing with the settings on my camera I took some dreamy bokeh pictures. Quite like the mood I was in after my visit to Kolkata – dreamy, festive & joyful, and bit of a blur! 😉


11 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Ritu! Loved you blog. I too get carried away when i think of Bengali style Durga Pooja, just like the post has been curated. First the idol prep, then to goreous arrangements and then to… definitely scrumptions food!! Thanks for reviving my memory lane.

    1. Ritu Saini says:

      Thanks a lot Tara 🙂 Kolkata is truly a city of Joy, wish I can visit again and eat some more! 😉

  2. Bama says:

    I was in Kolkata back in November 2015, but I only had less than 24 hours in the city. Since the first time I read about Durga Puja on an inflight magazine, I’ve been very curious about this festival. I really love how intricate the idol becomes after all those preparations. Ritu, lately I’ve been thinking of returning to Kolkata, and this post acts as a reminder for that. So thanks!

    1. Ritu Saini says:

      Thanks Bama, and apologies for replying so late. You must visit during the idol preparation time, it’s quite colorful and busy. But Kolkata is a great photo-op anytime of the year, day & place! There are some beautiful temple towns around Kolkata too, like Bishnupur where they have terracotta temples.

  3. arv! says:

    Great images, Ritu 🙂

  4. magiceye says:

    Superb visuals of the city of joy! Interesting narration too!

  5. thirdeyemom says:

    Amazing! I always love your work so much.

    1. Ritu Saini says:

      Thanks a lot Nicole! 🙂

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