The biggest festival in all of Bengal, Durga Pooja celebrates the Hindu goddess Durga. You may recognise the goddess Durga as the smiling, eight-armed goddess, but you may not know that Durga is considered the fierce demon-fighting version of the goddess Parvati – wife of Shiva the Hindu god. Enormous statues of the goddess Durga are produced for Durga Pooja, with thunderous drums beating away for the festival’s duration. Celebrated with particular fervour in Kolkata, this is a joyous, noisy, colourful affair. Party time!
Ganga Mahotsav pays special tribute to Mother Ganges, a river that is considered holy to Hindus. The millions who live beside the river depend on it for their daily needs, making it of vital practical importance. In Varanasi, bathing rituals and burials take place in alarming proximity to each other, simultaneously symbolising the endless cycle of death and rebirth. During the festival you’ll see local dance styles and enjoy traditional music, crafts, culture and cuisine as locals celebrate the river in the fascinating region of Varanasi.
Durga Pooja and Ganja Mahotsav are two of India’s most intriguing festivals. Taking place in October and November respectively, both showcase different aspects of Indian culture and Hindu religion. Why not coordinate your journey to India with one of these spectacular festivals?