India, have been known, " Golden Sparrow " as its diversity in unity, have been its strength. India have been center of Education, Trade, Culture, Arts & Power. Many Festivals and Cultural & Colorful Programmes are held throughout the year Further, India, Is known for abode of Sages, Gods & Goddesses. Right from Vedic Period, Women had free hand & commanded Power and Respect, until now, Famine being considered very Powerful Energy Is Worshiped in three forms of, Maa Durga,also called Parwati W/O Lord Shiva ( Goddess Of Power ), Maa Luxami ( Goddess Of Wealth ) and Maa Saraswati (Goddess Of Education )

Maa Durga Puja is solemnized throughout India but is more popular in North, North East, West & South West Provinces. Maa Durga Puja, commences from Shukla Paksha of Chaitra, Asadh, Ashvin & Magh of Hindu New Year. Maa Durga Puja in the month of Ashvin is celebrated more enthusiastically with high pump and show in West Bengal Province at Kolkata ( Calcutta ) Capital HQ of West Bengal. This day is also reckoned as win of good over evil. On this day, Maa Durga had overpowered Demon Mahishasur & killed him.  Ma Durga Puja goes on for 10 days, on first day Idol of Maa Durga, made of clay and on day 6 till day 10, Idols of Maa Luxami, Maa Saraswati, Ganesha (God of good omen ) and Kartikaya ( God of War ) are adored in Pandals for Worship & Prayers. We, me and my parents decided to go to Kolkata to join and be part of celebrations.

We preferred to travel to Kolkata via Train, arranged up and down reservation tickets in AC Tier 2 sleeper births through travel agent, for holidaying for about a week, starting from September 18 ending on September 24, 2012. After making full preparations for the holidays, we boarded train from New Delhi, on September 18, in the evening. On adjoining seats / births, one Marwari family accompanied us up to Kolkata and we had very good time with them. They were very friendly and humorous. They had with them their home made food, spices and  cooked vegetables. We preferred to have fresh meals served by Railway Canteen Services, but on September 19, at lunch time, they did not allow us to have food from Railway Canteen and we cherished their hospitality. We took meals offered by them, indeed it was very  delicious and tasty. We had family atmosphere in the train, very healthy discussions, enjoyable chats. On September 20, in the forenoon, we reached Kolkata. On getting down from the train, we took services of Kully for lifting our bags / luggage up to the Taxi Stand, just outside Railway Station,got loaded our bags / luggage into taxi waiting for us, paid to the Kully and drove straight to the Guest House. Guest House had been arranged before start of journey, through same travel agent who had got us train reservation.

On reaching Guest House, went directly to the suite booked for us & immediately after our bags / luggage was brought by service man. Rested for a while, took water & fruit juice. After taking bath, got dressed, made way to the dining hall and took meals. On finishing meals, spoke to the manager of guest house and having guidelines from him, we told the the driver to take us to Howrah Bridge across river Hugali (Ganges). It is an Unique structure built up and erected during British Rule in India. Below the Bridge, Ships sail & above there run Motors,Rails & Pedestrians walk. We used to see in movies or read in books, but today, It was amazing to see all this happening in front of our eyes. It was the end of our activities for today & we retrieved back to guest house, took fruit juice and thereafter meals and went to sleep.

Next day, on September 21, service boy brought bed tea, sipped bed tea with biscuits & strolled with in room, took bath and got dressed. We moved out, took break fast & asked the driver to take us to Maa Kali Temple, where we prayed and paid our reverences to Goddess Maa Kali and took her blessings for peaceful and happy life. Immediately after, we went to Maa Durga Pandal, where people from all shades of life were dancing and singing praises for Maa Durga and other Deities. They were putting saffron colors on each others and we too joined them in the celebrations. After spending some time over there, we came back to guest house and took our meals. In the evening, we went to another Pandal, where men, women, children were  beating drums, dancing to the musical tunes, singing praises for the Deities. We too joined them and felt thrilled. We returned back, took our dinner and went to sleep.

Next day, on September 22, after finishing breakfast, tea etc. We could not resist going to Pandal near by, paid our reverences, sat over there, listening to the musical band being played, made some purchases of Kolkata fame ( jute made ) came back, packed our bags / luggage and cleared our account. We started our journey back, reached railway station, got into the train and reached back New Delhi and home on September 24.

Our trip was not simple outing but also seeing the Charisma of Maa Durga, Maa Laxami, Maa Saraswati, Maa Kali and other Deities.

Sonia Singla