Monday, October 27, 2008

We Have Pumpkins!

Not quite the Halloween event of rollicking around the pumpkin patch to one pick out, but we now have pumpkins for Halloween. Krishna pre-ordered them at the market last week, since they are not a popular item this time of year. They are beautiful!

They put us in the mood to start our Halloween decorating with our supplies ordered from Oriental Trading about a month ago.

Change to Post: I later tagged this post with "trailing partner" since Anonymous Attorney comments may be thought provoking for others. Please see comments below, in full post:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Closing the Puja Season

On October 9th most of the pandals were broken down and the goddesses taken to the Hooghly river to honor and send off until next year. Here is one large one pandal that we visited complete with kid's rides and food stalls.

We are looking forward to next year to experience once again the creativity of Kolkata.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More Puja Photos

This pandal stood out for two reasons: the kids inside were having a great time and the sculptures looked like they were carved out of solid milk chocolate, yum!

The outside of the pandal

Lights hung around the neighborhoods

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Pandal of Generosity

Another Durga Puja display that stood out, was cared for by a older couple that appeared to open up the front door to their house. The two of them hung out by the statue and greeted those who passed by with handmade sweets and friendly banter.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

At the Height of Puja Season

October 5th through 9th is the most popular time of the Puja season in West Bengal, a celebration of Durga Puja. The holiday is celebrated in neighborhoods around the city with the creation of very elaborate displays or "pandals." Walking around from pandal to pandal in your new Durga clothes is the thing to do, especially on the third and fourth nights of the festival.

From the website, "Durga, in Sanskrit means 'She who is incomprehensible or difficult to reach.' Goddess Durga is a form of Sakti worshiped for her gracious as well as terrifying aspect. Mother of the Universe, she represents the infinite power of the universe and is a symbol of a female dynamism. The manifestation of Goddess Durga is said to emerge from Her formless essence and the two are inseparable."

Tonight we made our way to a neighborhood to take in the sights. After a quick ride on the metro for about 9 cents each way, we headed towards the music and lights. We had yet to see so many beautiful saris being worn in the streets - ones with gold and silver embroidery and reflective decoration to light up at night.

Photos from my favorite pandal of the night:

More posts on Durga Puja:
More Puja Photos
Tour of Kumartuli (where the idols are created) with Calcutta Walks
A Pandal of Generosity
Durga Drums
Closing the Puja Season

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Octoberfest in Kolkata

Unpacking our HHE took only about three days, it was the cleaning, organizing and finding places to put things that took much longer than expected. When packing up in D.C., we took all of our drawers that had been stuffed with odds and ends and dumped them in large Ziplock bags - a real time saver. But I am now wondering if we will ever go through them while here or will the bags stay for several tours?

And now for something different... We recently we attended the Taj Bengal's Octoberfest. It was a different event from those we had been to before, they recreated a German beer hall. There were wood tables with benches, small kegs on every table and a brass band flown in from Germany.

The food was traditional Bavarian fare - wursts, potato salad, spatzle, and liver soup. The good cheer was provided by the German consulate, the guests of honor at the event with a very long conga line and many rounds of Ein Prosit.