I am really blessed this year as I got a chance to visit Kolkata and be a part of Durga Puja Celebrations. This Navratri I had my life’s most special holiday trip to Kolkata. I had a very comfortable stay in Kolkata as I booked a holiday villa in advance of my visit. The Durga Puja celebrations were for 10 days. This was my first experience so I will tell you in detail about each and every part of the celebration. From the sixth day till the ninth day of the celebrations, Pandals with big idols of Durga Maa are open for visitors. On the tenth day ie; Dashami with grand celebrations the idols are immersed in water ie; Visarjan. The Navratri celebrations are done to celebrate the return of Maa Durga after destroying the demon, Mahishasura. [caption id="attachment_918" align="alignnone" width="300"] Durga Puja[/caption] A week prior to Navratri, the preparations for the celebrations starts in Kolkata. The idols of Maa Durga, except eyes are being painted and made ready. The eyes are painted on the occasion of Mahalaya, when the Goddess is invited on Earth with rituals and this ritual is called Chokku Daan. I also visited Kumartuli or potter’s locality in North Kolkata where the majority of idols are made. The beautifully decorated idols are brought home or to the public pandals on the sixth day accompanied by the idol of Lord Ganesha. On the seventh day, is the ritual of Pran Prathista. Early morning, a small banana plant called Kola Bou is taken to the river bathed and dressed in a red bordered sari and carried back in a procession and placed near the idol of Durga Maa. Ritualistic prayers and puja are done for all the remaining days of the festival. The tenth day is believed to be the day when Maa Durga gained victory over the demon and is called Dashami or Vijayadashami. On this day special pujas are offered to the Goddess and devotees gather in large numbers as procession and carry the Goddess to the ghats to be immersed in water. With God’s blessings I was also a part of this years’ Visarjan procession.