Check Out These Iconic Bonedi Bari Durga Pujas In Kolkata

The city's 200-odd bonedi baris still manage to take you down memory lane, offering a glimpse into the old days of Durga Puja in Bengal
Durga Puja in Kolkata
Durga Puja in KolkataGoutam1962/WikiCommons

At many of Kolkata's "bonedi baris", as the old aristocratic family homes are known, you will find Durga Puja being held for centuries - anything between 150 and 400 years. Most of these homes belonged to wealthy merchants and some were known for their ostentatious celebrations. Even though the celebrations have been toned down many notches, the city's 200-odd bonedi baris still manage to take you down memory lane, offering a glimpse into the splendour of bygone days. In most places, Goddess Durga is worshipped in the "thakur dalan", a public courtyard attached to the homes. Most of the homesteads have their own thakur dalan with pillars and verandahs reflecting the influences of European architecture. In keeping with tradition, the idols are placed on a single platform against a single semi-circular background (chalchitra). Here are seven bonedi bari pujas you must in and around Kolkata that you must add to your Durga Puja itinerary in Kolkata.

Jorasanko Shib Krishna Daw Bari Puja

Located in Jorasanko in North Kolkata, the Shibkrishna Daw house has been maintained beautifully and has been used for many film shoots. The household puja was started by Shibkrishna Daw's father in 1840 but it was the successful businessman son who added the glitz and glamour to the celebration. The thakur dalan sits pretty overlooking neat columns and overhanging balconies. You should visit this Pujo because people come to see the attire and the gorgeous gold and silver ornaments of the idols.

Address: 12A Shibkrishna Dawn Lane, Raja Katra, Singhi Bagan, Jorasanko, Kolkata

Mallick Bari Puja

Located in the old neighbourhood of Bhowanipore, in the heart of south Kolkata lies the Mallick Bari. Although the Mallick Bari Puja in Kolkata began way back in 1925, its popularity escalated when people realised that this was the home of Bengali cinema's leading actor Ranjit Mallick. The Vaishnav way of worship is followed here. There is no animal sacrifice, and no offering of any rice items to the goddess. More info here.

Address: 25A,C, Mohini Mohan Rd, Jadubabur Bazar, Bhowanipore, Kolkata

Colootala Dhar Bari Puja

This Vaishnav household does not worship Ma Durga in her demon-slaying pose. Instead, she is worshipped here as Abhaya Ma. The seated idol has two hands instead of ten. At her feet are two seated lions and she is surrounded by her children and her hand maidens. More info here.

Address: 32A Debendra Mullick Road, Tiretti, Kolkata

Pathuriaghata Rajbari Puja

Located in Pathuriaghata in North Kolkata, this homestead has probably the grandest thakur dalan in the city. The marble corridor, over 80-feet long, and the grand dancing hall (now Khelat Ghosh Memorial Hall) are a sight to behold. One unique feature of the Durga Puja here is the ablution of the Naba Patrika, or nine leaves, used in the rituals at the house itself. Also there is a tradition of offering homemade sweets to the goddess.

Address: 69, Pathuria Ghat St, Malapara, Santoshpur, Jorabagan, Kolkata

Thanthania Dutta Bari Puja

This is one of the not-to-be-missed Durga Pujas of Kolkata which was started by Dwarakanth Dutta in 1807. Breaking away from the popular style, they worship an idol of Hara-Parvati, where the goddess sits on Shiva's lap. Although some of the family rituals are not meant for outsiders, sometimes a nicely made request may yield results. One of the famous rituals include women placing clay plates containing burning coal on their heads and palms and offering prayers to the goddess for the welfare of the family. More info here.

Address: 3, Bidhan Sarani Rd, College Street, Kolkata

The thakur dalan at the bonedi bari
The thakur dalan at the bonedi bariChhatu Babu Latu Babu Thakurbari - Ramdulal Nibas/Facebook

Chhatubabu-Latubabu Thakurbari Puja

This Durga Puja was started in 1770 by Ramdulal Dey, whose rags to riches story is an episode worth telling. His sons, both wealthy merchants, introduced the pomp and pageantry. While the sons, Chhatubabu and Latubabu have passed away many years ago, the family puja is still famous by their names.

Address: 67, Abhedananda Rd, Maniktala, Girish Park, Manicktala, Hedua, Ward Number 16, Kolkata

Shovabajar Rajbari Puja

Located in north Kolkata, this is the most famous Durga Puja in the city and tomes have been written about it, about how Nabakrishna Deb hosted Robert Clive at his home following the latter's win in the Battle of Plassey. However, today people flock to see the unfolding of age-old rites and rituals during the five days of Durga Puja here. In keeping with tradition, the puja is held at the stylised thakur dalan.

Address: Raja Nabakrishna St, Raja Nabakrishna Street, Sovabazar, Kolkata

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller