A melody of colours come alive during every Durga Puja as festivities are in order. The end of monsoon brings in the fall wind as the festival season approaches and the air changes into this beautiful celebratory mode. Travelling during festive seasons is always fun, whether it’s a tourist packed one or a more intimate vacation with your loved ones. Durga Puja lasts for five whole days of autumn, and for those who get struck by wanderlust and get giddy at the prospect of vacations, we’ve compiled a list of destinations in Asia that you can visit to celebrate this holiday.
India is the most popular destination when it comes to celebrating Durga Puja, with Kolkata being one of the focus areas during the festivities. Visiting India for the festivities is to experience the cultural ties that bind with this holiday. If the food and the shopping weren't enough to entice one for a trip to India, the traditions and rituals would be enough to make your travel heart swoon. Discover the sculpting and painting of the deities and immerse in the beauty that are the pandals and take pictures to your heart’s content. Participate in the Dhunuchi Naach, Bhashaan rituals or visit the Bonedi Baari puja rituals, while immersing in the traditional pujas happening in the temples.
Apart from Kolkata, for a magical experience visit Varanasi and marvel in the lesser crowded streets as the pandals and food stalls spring up in different areas. Experience the emotions of the community and take in the architecture through temples that are UNESCO sites and observe the submerging of the idols in the Ganges. And if that’s not enough, make use of this trip to visit Assam, Odisha and the state of Bihar while you’re at it for a different experience. A trip to India should be a top priority if you’re a fan of an action packed adventure full of heart and soul!
Take an advantage of that on-arrival visa and head on to Nepal to celebrate the holidays! Known as Dashain to the Nepalese folks, this holiday is celebrated for 15 days all throughout the country. Expect long walks on the empty streets as this is a more intimate celebration in Nepal. Dining and shopping is more prevalent in Thamel where you can spend some quality time with your loved ones. Indulge in the paintings beside the streets and visit the temples for a tranquil day, and walk around the monastery taking in the difference in culture and prayers when it comes to this festivity. Kite flying becomes more common as it is a way of prayers for no rain, and small fairs are observed all throughout the festival. For a relaxed celebration with your loved ones, Nepal could be the perfect choice!
Some of the populous celebrate Durga Puja in Malaysia, and besides the food and the shopping and the sightseeing, this holiday can be celebrated by visiting the temples in Malaysia. For a more traditional approach, the Malaysian Bengalee Association organises events for Durga Puja, and the attendees can attend the event for a fee. Visit the temples in Penang and hop on to a jetty and visit Lankgawi for an adventurous trip. Malaysia offers a different range of experiences for your trip, and you can curate it in your own personal preference. Make this trip as adventurous as you want or unwind with your loved ones!
For a completely new and different experience, visit the peaceful temples in Bali, immerse yourself in nature and spirituality, and spend quality time with your dear ones. Trek up towards Mount Agung for a gorgeous panoramic view of the valleys and explore the hidden fountains and bathing pools behind the volcano. Visit Mount Batur and unravel stories about good and evil in nearby villages, or just chill around the nearby lakes. Keep an eye out for fire dancing and traditional monkey dances in different parts of Bali! Visiting this destination promises a different approach to celebrating this festivity, and if you’d like to celebrate this occasion on the down-low, Bali is the perfect spot for you!
Whether you decide to visit overseas for a fun packed Puja or take elements of these trips and curate your own plans, we hope that your celebrations will be filled with joy and merriment!
Raida A. K. Reza is a free spirited bohemian lady who likes hugging trees, sciencing, making jewellery for her jewellery shop, writing and reading about (almost) everything. She also thinks she can change the world, but there’s not enough data to back that hypothesis (yet)