Bus tours to art previews to self-guided tours — options to enjoy Durga Puja in Kolkata

Asha Bajaj
4 min readOct 7, 2023


#DurgaPuja, #Kolkata, #WestBengalTourism, #bustours, #artpreview, #selfguidedtour, #DurgaPujaArt

Durga Puja

IBNS: The annual autumn festival, Durga Puja, as celebrated in Kolkata, is known for its art and cultural extravaganza. Its inclusion in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, in 2021, has now catapulted it to global fame.

While pandal-hopping (the temporary pavilion holding the idols is locally known as pandal) across the city is a favourite pastime during the festival, those visiting Kolkata during this time may find it a bit daunting. This is also the time when traffic movement can be chaotic. Therefore, the package tours on offer from West Bengal Tourism and other private travel agents may be a welcome option.

West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation Limited (WBTDCL), a nodal agency under the state’s tourism department, will be holding several package tours by day and night for visitors to catch a glimpse of some of the popular neighbourhood pujas as well as old traditional houses (‘bonedi bari’) across Kolkata and the neighbouring district of Hooghly.

Image credit: Tanuj Adhikary/Unsplash

Durga Puja tours by WBTDCL


The tours will commence from Rabindra Sadan at 10 pm and conclude at the same place at 5am next day.

This approximately seven hour tour by air-conditioned bus will cover some of the popular neighbourhood pujas of central and south Kolkata (College Square, Md Ali Park, Kashi Bose Lane, Badamtola Ashar Sangha, 66 Pally, Mudiali Club, Shiv Mandir, Ekdalia Evergreen, Singhi Park, Hindustan Road, Rajdanga Naba Uday Sangha).

Tour dates: October 17 and 18, 2023.

Package rates: Rs 2099 per head (inclusive of packed dinner)


The tours will commence from Rabindra Sadan at 8am and conclude at the same place at 12.30pm.

This approximately 4.5 hour tour by air-conditioned bus will cover some of the popular traditional household pujas of north and central Kollata (Khelat Ghosh Bari, Sovabazar Rajbari, Chatubabu Latubabu Bari*, Chandra Bari, Rani Rashmoni Bari, Thanthania Dutta Bari, Jorasanko Daw Bari).

Tour dates: October 21, 22 and 23, 2023. *On October 22 (Ashtami), there will be no visit to Chatubabu Latubabu Bari.

Package rates: Rs 1,999 (inclusive of packed breakfast and ‘bhog’ at Sovabazar Rajbari)

Hooghly Safar

The tour will commence from Rabindra Sadan at 7am and conclude at the same place at 8.30pm.

This approximately 13.5 hour tour by air-conditioned bus will cover some of the popular festive attractions of Hooghly district (Sreerampur Goswami Bari, Buri Durga, Sheoraphuli Rajbari, Hanseswari and Ananta Basudev temples, Guptipara Durgabari, Guptipara Senbari).

Tour date: October 21, 22 and 23, 2023.

Package rate: Rs 3,499 per head (inclusive of packed breakfast and packed lunch)

For booking of WBTDCL tours, see here

Preview Show 2023 of Durga Puja Art — Kolkata

UNESCO, as part of the 20th anniversary of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, has listed several activities on its website to mark the occasion. A preview of the art involved in Durga Puja of Kolkata is also part of the programme and has been cited on their website.

Called ‘Preview Show 2023 of Durga Puja Art — Kolkata’, it is being organised by massArt in collaboration with UNESCO and British Council (who is the international partner). For those not willing to rub shoulders with the crowd, this is a good opportunity to see the selected Durga pujas before they open for general visitors.

According to a release from the organisers, the ticketed experience ‘will include hassle-free visits to the art installations, interactive sessions with the artists and artisans for a better understanding of the art form, exposure to the process of creation of the art and opportunity to experience local culture’.

Preview Show 2023 of Durga Puja Art — Kolkata includes 22 contemporary, 2 traditional and 2 old aristocratic household Durga pujas. The timings are 6pm to 5am for the contemporary and traditional pujas and noon to 6pm for the aristocratic households.

Like the first edition held last year, the second edition too will include an exhibition on ‘making of Durga Puja Art’ at the iconic Town Hall in the heart of the city. According to the organisers, ‘the exhibition is a journey through the entire process, from conception to execution, using audio-visual footage and live demonstration.’ There will also be a display and sale of handcrafted products at the venue. The programme at Town Hall will be open to all, between 11am and 6pm.

Preview and exhibition dates: October 11 to 15, 2023.

Take a self-guided tour

A Kolkata-based travel tech company, Immersive Trails, is launching an app-based audio guided tour which will help those who want to visit, on their own, the famous aristocratic family homes of Kolkata holding their traditional Durga pujas. Called ‘Bonedi Barir Pujo Tour’, it will be available from October 19 to 24, 2023 and priced at Rs 199.



Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women