Book your required tour day during the 2017 Durga Puja festivities, and after morning pickup at your Kolkata hotel, set off by private, air-conditioned vehicle with your guide.
On route, hear about this annual Hindu festival, which celebrates the goddess Durga and draws thousands onto the streets. Seek out the Puja pandals — the temporary temples that appear across Kolkata to venerate Durga. Usually built by community associations, the shrines house painted idols that are worshipped for five days before immersion in the River Hooghly.
Hop between pandals to admire the artistic Durga figurines and rich decorations, with the goddess usually depicted with eight or ten arms, and bedecked in garlands. Watch the rituals, seeing the priests recite prayers, locals bring anjalis (offerings), and dancers and musicians, often playing dhak drums, performing as your guide sheds light on the different activities and ceremonies. If you book your tour for the festival’s last day, perhaps visit a ghat (riverside steps) to see the idols being lowered into the Hooghly.
Browse the craft stalls gathered around the pandals, and sample some street food (own expense) like delicious mughlai paratha (soft, filled fried bread).
After four hours, your tour concludes with a hotel drop-off.