West Bengal Tourism is making an effort to promote Durga Puja, the biggest festival in this part of the country, as major draw. “We have big plans for the ensuing Durga Pujas. We are trying to make Durga Puja the most happening event and increase the footfall of tourists into the state during that time,” said Goutam Deb, Tourism Minister of West Bengal.
Bengal’s biggest festival, Durga Puja, which will begin in the first week of October this year, is a four-day melange of fun and devotion. West Bengal Tourism will shortly unveil a number of Durga Puja packages to attract tourists from different parts of the country and abroad. It would start with the ‘Mahalaya’ package, the first day of the festival, when tourists would be taken to witness ‘Tarpan’, the ritual of paying tributes to the fore-fathers at Babughat on Hooghly river, a cruise on the river Hooghly past Dakshineswar Temple and then visits to Belur Math and the artisans’ hub at Kumartuli, where the huge idols are created.
Other packages would include visits to major community Puja pandals of the city and some of the century-old Pujas conducted by renowned families of Kolkata, celebrating Pujas on the Ganges and a river cruise connecting Belur Math, Dakshineswar Temples. Also on offer would be a spread of Bengali dishes and desserts.
“Another, highlight of this year’s Puja will be a grand immersion parade of some of the award-winning Pujas of the city – the concept is the brainchild of the CM Mamata Banerjee. The parade will be starting from the famous Red Road in the city,” added Deb.
“The tourism department will be working closely with different tour operators, hotel owners and transport agencies, besides several other government departments to put up a co-ordinated effort,” he pointed out.
Deb also informed that there are plans to promote ‘Jagadhatri Puja’ in this year, which is held just after a month of Durga Puja. “Tourists would be taken to Chandannagore, an erstwhile French colony in Hooghly district of the state, where it is celebrated on a much bigger scale,” he commented.