Celebrate in style

first_imgWorship WalkBONEDI BARI PUJO WALKTo many, Durga puja in Kolkata has come to mean wading through traffic to get to the pandals teeming with people. But in another part of Kolkata, pujas are all about traditions that are nearly centuries old. Puja festivities in family homes have an intimacy that,Worship WalkBONEDI BARI PUJO WALKTo many, Durga puja in Kolkata has come to mean wading through traffic to get to the pandals teeming with people. But in another part of Kolkata, pujas are all about traditions that are nearly centuries old. Puja festivities in family homes have an intimacy that is missing in the Baraowari Pujo (public funded pujas).Calcutta Walks, one of the first companies to host city walks in Kolkata hosts a Bonedi Bari Pujo walk every year. They take tourists to a select few of these iconic home pujas where one can watch the festivities up close while being regaled with stories of their origin and vignettes of their past. There is a saying about how goddess Durga comes to wear her jewellery in Jorasanko Dawn house. The family was known to have bought not just a lot of gold but also diamonds and emeralds from Europe in their heydays, says Anirban Dutta, an explorer from Calcutta Walks. Photo by: Anirban DuttaThe walk begins early in the morning on a chosen day with explorers meeting outside Girish Park Metro Station. Walkers are then taken to the famous pujas nearby, including two, at the Dawn household, the two Deb family pujas, Pathurighata’s Khelat Ghosh’s pujo and Shobhabazar Raj Bari. Each family celebrates in a different style, with different rituals and one gets a taste of the real thing up close. At the end of the walk, explorers are served a typical vegetarian bhog or meal.advertisementWhile monuments and history books remain, intangibles like these that are part of the city’s heritage are slowly losing currency. We had more than 100 members participating in the puja festivities before. Now with nuclear families and people moving out of the city our numbers have dwindled to 25, says Pashupati Roy, the 79-year- old head of the Roy household in Colootola near Burrabazar. The family will be celebrating its 161st Durga Puja this year. Calcutta Walks explorer Anirban Dutta (third from left) with tourists at a Pujo bariON OCTOBER 15 -19 PRICE Rs 3500 per person WEB calcuttawalks.com AT Roy Bari, Kabiraj Row Lane, (opposite school of tropical medicine)Check MatesGARIHAT CHESS CLUBIf you want a quintessential Kolkata experience, explore the Gariahat Chess Club. Started as a motley group of chess enthusiasts playing under the Gariahat flyover, was registered as the Gariahat Chess Club in 2006. Their makeshift premises have been given a facelift with an initiative from Kolkata Police, PC Chandra and the architects from Anjan Ukil Square Consortium.Beautification of a city is never complete without its people. We need urban spaces to sit, chat, loiter and play, says Shubhrajit G Mitra of Square, one of the architects who designed the space. From 2007, when the club had just three chess boards balanced on railings, to now where there are sleek, curved lamp posts, 13 tables and 26 stools for players, it has been a long journey for the club and its members. A chess game in progress as enthusiasts watch on. (Photo by: Nilanjan Karmakar)The surroundings are still the same and deliberately so. It is still one of busiest crossings in the city with the pre-puja shopping crowd adding to the din. It is still an outdoor event and the only breeze is the exhaust fumes of cars passing by. But the chess club with its chess players spanning all age groups and backgrounds, continues to attract chess lovers. It is open to all and one can just hang out there after a shopping spree and sip on some tea.Dumplings by The DozenMASTER DIMSUMShoppers in Bangkok are spoilt for choice, in between their shopping spree, they can fill their stomachs by shopping for some delicious, inexpensive, street food. This is the experience that restaurateurs Siladitya and Debaditya Chaudhuri of Oudh 1590 and Chowman wanted to replicate in Kolkata. Shiladitya Chaudhuri, Chef Peter Chin and Debaditya Chaudhuri. (Photo by : Subir Halder)The quick service restaurant is the only one serving a variety of dimsums that are generally not found outside fine dining Chinese restaurants. Chef Peter Chin traces its origins to Kolkata’s old Chinatown in Tiretti Bazaar before he moved out and spent his professional years in the Middle East. The menu thus pays homage to all those dumplings, including meatball soup, wontons and soft fluffy baos that were once found there.Gyozas, sui mai, Thai dumplings and of course the now ubiquitous momo are to be found on the menu as well. Fillings are available in vegetarian, chicken, fish and pork though pork is not available in all their outlets. Come here to grab a bite between pandal hopping.advertisement PRICE Rs 140 onwards CALL 7604033355 AT P – 562, Hemanta Mukhopadhayay Sarani, off Southern AvenueChild’s PlayNEE & OINKSisters Neelakshi and Oiendrila Ray, 39, turned to children’s fashion when they realised there was a dearth of trendy ethnic wear for children that appealed to both the mother and child. In 2011, the sisters, both design graduates from Parsons School of Design (NYC/Paris) and Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication (London), started their own label Nee & Oink with the thought that it would retain an element of whimsy besides being comfortable for children.Their newest festive range plays around with colourful motifs inspired by nature. Big vibrant peonies on lehengas and kurtas, animals and birds from Gond art motifs like herons, cockatoos and woodpeckers are embroidered on the festive range of clothing. India has such a rich heritage of art. Designer Oiendrila Ray Kapur with her son Arish. (Photo by : Subir Halder)For all our collections we try to take inspiration from at least one art form from the country, says Oiendrila whose background is in graphic design. The sisters are particular about the fabrics they use. Their line is all about lightweight silks and breathable cottons. The colour story is festive with jewel tones, reds and pinks and rich navy blues dominating.And if the clothes make you wish you were a child again, Nee & Oink also do custom made clothing for adults.PRICE Rs 2,600 onwards TEL 8334936663 AT Nee & Oink, 219 Jodhpur ParkIndie Vibes OnlySTUDIO KSRDesigner Karishma Siddique Roy’s, freewheeling music-loving indie soul finds expression through her designs in Studio KSR. Roy, 36, a stylist and manager to folk and bluegrass band No Strings Attached, and an RJ, takes inspiration from music for her creations. Take a cue from the Ella dress (inspired by Ella Fitzgerald) or Baezed (Joan Baez) or the Norah dress (Norah Jones) which have all been a hit with Kolkata’s young and famous. Karishma is in a khesh sari with Pushpo tunicThe fabric of her choice is nearly always khesh. I have grown up with a love for all things handloom but it was in my third year of design when I worked with weaving cluster in Shantiniketan, when I fell in love with khesh, says the NIFT Kolkata graduate. Because the fabric is woven with new yarn as warp and strips of old saris as weft, there is a certain unpredictability to the look.I love the surprise element. You can never tell what colour the stripes will be before it is woven, says Roy. For the festive season, pick up some of her khesh blouses that you can also wear as crop tops or layer with saris and jackets for a traditional yet stylish look.PRICE Rs 2,500 onwards TEL 9836915050 AT Studio KSR, 10, Sourin Roy Road, BehalaShining BrightPRETIOSDespite being just a year old in the city but brand Pretios has made its name amongst Kolkata’s fashionistas. Stylists, designers and Tollywood actors have been sporting Pretios’s high street, silver jewellery.advertisementConceptualised by jewellery designer Dwiti Bhuwalka, 33, the line was born out of the young woman’s passion for all that glitters. I love jewellery and I think one should be able to change it as often as possible, says Bhuwalka. Hence the name Pretios meaning precious. Dwiti in Pretios’ Pearl Bijoux collectionsComing from a family of jewellers, Bhuwalka figured that playing around with designs was better suited to more affordable forms like sterling silver and semi precious gems and pearls. Her diamond look-alikes are all Swarovski’s cubic zirconia.Her most popular collection so far has been the Pearl Bijoux collection that has beautifully cut Swarovski stones and pearls in gleaming white silver to conjure sleek modern designs. For the festive season though, Bhuwalka’s Euphoria collection has ventured into colourful Polki styles with traditional chokers, jhumkas, chand balis et al.PRICE Rs 3,000 onwards for small stud earrings to Rs 24,000 upwards for necklaces. TEL 30089209 AT Pretios By Dwiti Bhuwalka, Rosekandy Office, 5th floor, Aspirations Vintage, 12 Pretoria Streetlast_img

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