She has no temple but the two-week Durga Puja is Kolkata’s most lavish festival (Sept/Oct). A symbol of victory over evil, the ten-armed Durga is commonly depicted sitting on a lion slaying the demon Mahisasura who assumed the shape of a buffalo. During the celebrations images of the goddess are placed in elaborate marquees called pandals, supported by large donations and the local communities, which block off small streets for days. After the puja, the images are taken to the river for immersion, before being quickly fished out again with cranes to avoid pollution caused by the materials and paints used in the statuary. Pandals worth visiting during Durga Puja, beside the popular one at Kumartuli, include those at Mohammed Ali Park near Chittaranjan Avenue, MG Marg crossing and the nearby College Square. Baghbazaar’s pandal is the oldest, and renowned for its simple elegance.

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