Behind all lustrous club pujas of Kolkata that attracts hoppers from all over India , there are still some family pujas that holds the orthodox Bengali culture firmly barricading the ever growing multicultural lust of Bengalis. These pujas don’t come up with social themes or captivating lightings yet the strong sense of emotional devotion among the members, the antique “thakur dalan” and vanity of royalty will mesmerize you and leave you with many question unanswered of lost glory. Lets take you to a trip of such Durga Pujas of Kolkata.
It is considered as the most famous royal family puja of Kolkata dating back to 1757 when British empire was on the edge of establishing Bengal presidency. Raja Nabakrishna Deb was one of the table turner during Battle of Plassey after which the complexion of Bengal changed forever and capital was shifted from Murshidabad to Kolkata. There are two Rajbari at 33 and 36 Raja Nabakrishna street each one of them was gifted to two sons of Raja Nabakrishna Deb.
Picture Courtesy – Oendrila Bhowmick
How to reach – The famous mansion is located very close to Sovabazar Sutanuti metro station. Just walk towards the Red Kali bari behind the gate number 1 of metro and take the first right turn.
CHATUBABU LATUBABUR THAKUR BARI
This 18th century mansion was once the play ground of trade relation between British India and America, which was then standing on the verge of gaining Independence from British and European Empire. The founder of this puja was Ramdulal Dey Sarkar and after that the tradition shifted to the hands of his two son Ashutosh Deb (Chatu babu) and Pramatha Nath Deb (Latu Babu). Currently, the historic pujas and other traditions are conducted by Ananth Nath Deb Trust.
Chatubabu Latubabu’s thakur bari
How to reach – This 18th century palace is located in the street opposite of gate number 4 of Girish Park Metro connecting Nimtala ghat street.
MITRA BARIR PUJA (DARJIPARA)
It is very easy to walk pass this magnificent palace as the narrow ingress is overwhelmed by the contemporary concrete mess and political banners, layering the antique framework. Founder of this tradition is Durgacharan Mitra who was an entrepreneur and jeweler in Mughal court. After many years of family incongruity and financial instability , the tradition was reestablished by Radhakrishna Mitra after his successful business collaboration with the Dutches in early 19th century.
Mitra Barir Pujo (Nilmoni Mitra Street)
Durga Idol of Mitra Bari
How to reach – It is located in Nilmani Mitra Street , very close to Beadon street. You have to take a right turn from Chatubabu Latubabu’s Thakur Bari and walk straight until you see the green board with “Nilmani Mitra street” . The mansion is located after 4 houses on the right.
MADAN MOHAN DUTTA BARIR PUJA
With ancestral roots in Andul, Howrah district , the family came to Kolkata during Mughal emperor Akbar’s reign. Family were given a land in present day Fort Williams after Govindasharan Dutta became the most dependable person of Mughal Diwan , Todar Mal. However, they shifted from Fort Williams after British bought those lands to built some unfinished edifice of their East India Company.
Madan Mohan Dutta Barir Puja
Idol at Madan Mohan Dutta Barir Puja
How to reach – You can reach here from central avenue as well as from strand road. From central avenue, you have take the left turn towards Nimtala Ghat Street and reach a mosque located on the right side of the road , the lane passing by the mosque is Duttapara Lane which houses the Madan Mohan Dutta Bari. From Strand road you have take the immediate right turn just opposite of Nimtala ferri ghat.
HATHKHOLA DUTTA BARIR PUJA
This fortified puja was started by Jagataram Dutta in 1786 . Dutta family was very close to the British officials and the forefathers were employed in East India Company in various respective positions. They were very open hearted to the poor people of Kolkata in 18th century and hence derived the name “Hathkhola”.
Hathkhola Dutta Bari Thakur Dalan
Idol at Hathkhola Dutta Barir pujo
How to reach – Hathkhola Dutta Bari is located very close to the Madan Mohan Dutta bari , just 5 minutes driving straight towards Rabindra Sarani from Nimtala Ghat Street. The house will lie on the left side.
DURGA PUJA AT KHELAT GHOSH BHAWAN (PATHURIAGHATA)
Khelat Chandra Ghosh was a Diwan in the Imperial house of East India Company and apart from being the most loyal and trusted official of British Empire , he was one of such personalities of Calcutta who dared to take part in entrepreneurship despite of facing sturdy competition from European settlers of Calcutta. Khelat Bhawan is personally my favorite Bengali palatial edifice because of its stupendous European architecture with long corridors, antique pendant lamps along the ingress way, 6 feet high thakur dalan and lastly the soothing combination of green and white walls will put you through a lane of serenity and appease your eyes, away from the city cacophony.
Entrance corridor of Khelat Bhawan
Khelat Bhawan Thakur Dalan
Idol at Khelat Ghosh Bari
How to reach – It is located near to the famous Paancher pally pujo of Rabindra sarani. The small yet historical street is called “Pathuriaghata street”.
BEHALA SABARNA ROYCHOUDHARY BARIR PUJA
There was a time when Majumdar family were the owner of Kalikata as per Jagirdari by Mughal Emperor Jahangir in early 17th century. After that, Laxmikanta Majumdar started the first organized and famous Durga Puja of South Bengal. British East India Company, took the lease of the 3 villages from Mughal Empire thus persuading the Roychoudhary family to abdicate the legal right on the city Kolkata. The title “Roychoudhary” was given to them by Sawai Man Singh of Amer who were one of those Rajput clans who had strong alliance with the Mughals.
Entrance of the Sabarna Roychoudhary’s puja
How to Reach – The place is far away from the main city of Kolkata. One has to reach Barisha, Sakherbajar (Behala) then hire a paddle ricksaw and him to drop you at the exact location of the puja. This is the very same place where I live 😀 .
DURGA PUJA AT JORASHANKO DAWN HOUSE
It was started by Gokul Krishna Dawn, a famous coal & metal entrepreneur of Calcutta in the year 1840. After that his son Shibkrishna Dawn and later his descendants continued the tradition. The idol is heavily decorated with jewelery and emerald stones which were imported from Europe in 19th century. Just few yards away there is another Dawn house which is called “choto bari” which was the segment of family from Narshimha Dawn.
Dawn house at Jorashanko
How to Reach – It is located on Rabindra Sarani , on the street called Kali Krishna Tagore street . From Kali Krishna Tagore street take a right turn towards a narrow lane called Shib Krishna Dawn Lane.
OTHER FAMOUS BONEDI PUJAS OF KOLKATA
- Baishnab Das Mallick Barir Puja
- Bholanath Dutta Family Puja
- Bagbazar Halder Family Puja
- Rani Rashmoni’s Family Puja
- Nilmoni Sen’s Family Puja.
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