Call it luck by chance, or chance by luck, I am someone who gets the best of both! That’s because my parents live in North Kolkata and my in-laws in South Kolkata, so when it comes to pandal hopping, I can pick and choose where I would like to retire 🙂
Enough said, lets get to the details.
You can start North Kolkata Pandal hopping in two ways. Start off with Bagbazar Sarbojanin or Dum Dum Park-Lake Town. I will suggest both the routes in this post.
- We start off with Bagbazar Sarbojanin first in the morning (We take the 240 Bus from our place near South City Mall, which straight goes to Bagbazar). My husband loves this bus route particularly, for it reminds him of his college days and brings back a beautiful North Kolkata nostalgia. So Bagbazar first, followed by Jagat Mukherjee Park (which has been churning out spectacular pandals for the last two years).
- Then we visit the Sovabazar Rajbari by crossing the street (Remember, Rajbari pujos are “bonedi bari” pujo, so they follow their particular time. You will not be able to access it 24 hours like pandals. Once we went their after 9:30 p.m. and found the gates shut). Right next to Sovabazar Rajbari is another Bonedi Bari Pujo (whose name I am not aware of).
- Then we head to Kumortuli Park and Kumortuli Sarbojanin by walking through the narrow lanes of North Kolkata and availing an auto (please do not ask for specific lanes, I keep asking the traffic police and the pan-wallahs all the time “Dada kon dike?” :-D)
- After Kumortuli, we head to Aahiritola Sarbojanin (Not to be missed). We then take a Mini bus from there (Some bus which goes towards Ultodanga – May be Andul – Salt Lake or something like that). We get down at hatibagan and continue with our North Kolkata Pandal hopping.
- First we start with Kashi Bose Lane (at the exit, we are always handed over mineral water and mishti). After which we head to Sikdar Bagan, Nalin Sarkar Street, Nabin Pally and Hatibagan Sarbojanin (all in proximity). Time for some rest and we straight head home for a deep slumber!
- Alternatively, if you would like to keep on moving, try covering Manicktala Chalta Bagan, Loha Patty, Kar Bagan, Vivekananda Sporting Club, Shimla Bayam Samity and Lala Bagan (all within proximity). We had covered a few out of these last time, but honestly, I cannot recall any of the names except Chalta Bagan.
Disclaimer : Thou shall not ask me which pandal in Manicktala comes first and which one comes at the end, because all of them are confusingly similar and one lane leads to another pandal. So make sure you keep asking, the volunteers always help.
- In the evening, we start off with Dum Dum Park Tarun Sangha, followed by Bharat Chakra and Dum Dum Park Tarun Dal (all within walking diatance). Dum Dum Park Yubak Brinda can also be covered, but it is at another extreme end of Dum Dum Park (more towards VIP Road), so you may skip it if you want to.
- Come to Jessore Road, and take a bus towards Lake Town. You can start off with Sreebhumi Sporting Club, followed by Lake Town Adhibashi Brinda and Lake Town Netaji Sporting Club (all within proximity). This can be done in the reverse order as well if you would like to cover Ultodanga next. So Lake Town Netaji Sporting Club, followed by Lake Town Adhibashi Brinda, Sreebhumi Sporting Club and then, take an auto/bus to Ultodanga.
- Then you may want to cover the pandals near Ultadanga. We have never done so (mostly due to lack of time), but we can provide you with the names of the famous pandals : Ultadanga Sangrami, Ultodanga Pallysree, Ultadanga Jagrani Sangha, Telengabagan. You can move to Manicktala at this stage by taking a bus (in case you are interested and have not covered it earlier). Moving to Kankurgachi and covering Kankurgachi Mitali Sangha, Kankurgachi Yubak Brinda and Beleghata 33 Pally are other options.
Since we are covering the entire North Kolkata in One Post, I might like to add a few more names that absolutely deserve all the attention, but they do not fall in our route, hence we have always avoided them.
- Tala Barowari and Tala Pratyay : These are two award winning pandals, and should be covered before you start with Bagbazar. Once you cover them, you can then hop on to Bagbazar and complete the rest of your pandal hopping as suggested.
- Another three pandals that fall in a metro route are : Mohammad Ali Park, Santosh Mitra Square and College Square (Start from M. G. Road Metro Station). We have never covered these pandals, but they are all spectacular in their own way.
With this, our Pandal Hopping Series comes to an end. I hope you all enjoyed going through it, as much as I loved writing it down and discussing about the best possible routes. I am open to suggestions and comments, so please keep them coming.
Disclaimer : The routes and directions mentioned here are all rough estimates. Of course they have been tried by us over the past five years, but please follow them at your own convenience.