Durga Puja with all its cheerfulness is celebrated with much pomp and show in Cuttack too. Denizens here know the exact importance of this festival since excitement and glee of celebrations can be seen in every corner of the city. The construction of pandals, carving of Goddess’s idol, building of ornamented artificial arches, etc. take place much before the festive day itself. Since every locality has its unique trademark in pandal & other decorations, below we list out some of the best places that one should surely go to!
1) Balu Bazaar (Binod Bihari)
This particular pandal should surely top one’s list as it is from here itself that the festivities of Durga Puja got initiated in the city. As per the legends, between 1512 and 1517 AD, Sri Chaitanya Dev paid a visit to Cuttack and it was him who firstly started worshipping the deity. Hence keeping the old traditions intact until now, the festival is celebrated amidst utmost fervour with the idol being painted only in organic colors. A 30-ft-high silver tableau is beautifully placed here which is considered to be the city’s biggest!
2) Chandni Chowk
Any person visiting Cuttack should definitely look forward to the puja revelry in this area because there is no pause to the fun activities in which one can indulge here! While earlier the idol of this pandal used to be decorated using silver jewelry, but since the last few years pure gold jewelry has replaced the silver ones. Intricate is the work on its tableau and magnificent are the arches built near the pandal. Most interesting is the fair that is set up here where both kids and adults can enjoy to their heart’s desire!
3) Choudhury Bazar
Touted as one of the oldest pandals, the trend of adding both silver & gold to the idol was started in this specific region. It is also noteworthy to mention that in some way or the other, organizers here keep adding gold every year to the deity’s structure. Having said that, one can now decipher how rich and dazzling the Goddess might seem in this area. Not just the idol looks attractive, but even the decorations leading to the pandal seem exquisite. All these are the factors which make many devotees line up to catch a glimpse of the divinity!
4) Khan Nagar
Giving significant importance to the decorations, this area comes up with creative gates like no other area of the city! Also their sparkling adornments with light have turned the place into a major crowd puller in the recent years. So, if one is in the mood to treat their eyes with not just an elegantly crafted idol, but also with some innovative formations, then we would suggest to stop by here!
More like being Cuttack’s gateway, Badambadi gives the very first impression of this Millennium city. And during Puja, it turns even more majestic with gates designed on enthralling themes. If you have not until now, then do check out this year’s gate replicating the ISKCON temple at Mayapur, West Bengal. Adding up to the attraction is melody of lively performances which keep the visitors entertained!
6) Chhatra Bazar & Thoria Sahi
Here one can find something very exclusive, and the attraction is not just limited to checking out lights or idol. Unique decorations with animated figures of animals, dolls and a lot more elements are a testimony to their artistic side! While Thoria Sahi is noted for creating Raavan that moves his hands, Chhatra Bazar on the other side is particularly famous for the amazing puppet shows!
7) Sheikh Bazar
Dreamy lights that will make one feel to be belonging in some illuminated land altogether, and evening aarti which will entice one to visit here every other evening of this festivity! Yes, Sheikh Bazar is symbolic of all these things and even more that could ever be imagined. A hot-spot during Durga Puja in Cuttack for being one of the most amazingly lit area, this locality also makes a canopy with tiny dancing bulbs, all along the path. Even the pandal is well lighted making the Goddess look more spectacular!
The graceful idol of Goddess Durga and an exquisite silver filigree showcased on the massive tableau, compels on-lookers to stop for a while and simply marvel. Even after being one of the busiest lanes of Cuttack, the charm and gazes at this place doesn’t deter a bit. Reputed to be one of the oldest pandal here, the organizers in recent years have also come up with setting gigantic light gates and small fair in close proximity making this pandal a must visit!
9) Alisha Bazar
What makes this pandal worth a visit is its uniqueness. You can find the creative use of led lights running all along the admirable crafted idol and its elaborate backdrop. This apart, in Mahanabami a delicious fish curry (macha bhoga) is offered to the Goddess and later distributed among the folks in evening. However, one needs to be truly fortunate enough to get a hand on this tasty prasad!
It is one of the few places in Cuttack where the idol is ornamented with a gold crown. People flock here in large numbers not just to spectate the Goddess but also to relish the dahi pakhal bhoga. It is believed that almost 5000 people delight on this distinctively flavored prasad. That apart, visit here for the dazzling decorations too which is a gorgeous sight to view!
Some other prominent areas in Cuttack with a great festive feel are Manglabagh, Haripur Road, College Square, Jobra, Kajibazaar and Sikharpur. In each of these places, pandals are set up in the most exclusive manner, rendering a distinctive look. Cuttack with its love and warmth surely give an unforgettable memory to the visitors. Happy Durga Puja to one and all!