It’s fun! After all, it is one of the country’s biggest religious and cultural extravaganzas. But then Durga Puja can also be quite an overwhelming experience if you don’t know how to soak in its real magic.
You will be left hassling to make your bookings, wandering in unknown places not knowing what to do, and unnecessarily spending on things that you shouldn’t.
And this is more prevalent among the foreign tourists who have much less clue about the festival itself, let alone how to have fun.
For them, here are 5 basic tips on how they can enjoy Durga Puja in India the right way:
Find The Right Travel Agency
This is, of course, the most important part. Essential even if this is your first time visiting India.
You want to find a travel agency, preferably in India and in the state you’re visiting, that not only takes care of your bookings but also provide you with all the necessary assistance. You want to pick someone who you can rely on to plan your days or when you’re confused.
So, don’t just Google “travel agency near me“. Do more! Do thorough research; visit agencies’ websites, read reviews, check their tour packages and contact them, if needed, to ask questions from the front.
Start this process at the earliest so to minimize the cost of traveling. (Last minute bookings in India during Durga Puja can get a bit expensive!)
Take Things Easy
There are literally hundreds of things and places to do and visit during Durga Puja. You cannot explore them all in limited days. So, you shouldn’t even try.
Don’t squeeze too many activities in this single trip. In the name of “enjoying the most”, don’t over-pack your schedule.
Pick one good destination, instead of many. And then spend all your days there exploring the details, instead of rushing from towns to towns to see the most number of things.
Remember, you’re here to enjoy and likely relax. So, do that! Keep your traveling plan simple. Do not jump from one place to another. Focus more on depth than width.
Find People Like You
Thousands of people visit India during Durga Puja. If you aren’t a lone-wolf-kind-of-a-person, finding other foreign tourists or travelers like yourself can ease your anxious thoughts.
With them, you would feel much comfortable and safer in exploring new places and enjoying the real fun wholeheartedly.
There are many online forums and platforms that can help you meet such people.
Also, if you have one of the good international tour operators by your side, even they can help you meet new people who are traveling like you.
Be a Local To Feel The Local Fun
Don’t be a “traditional tourist” with a fedora and fanny pack, map in hand, looking lost, wondering where to go.
In fact, don’t look like a tourist at all.
Be like the locals. Dress like them. Eat what they are eating. Get involved in different religious and cultural activities.
For 9 straight days, Durga Puja packs plenty of fun and exuberance. The only way to enjoy that is to let go of your tourist’s hat and let yourself loose.
Follow the suit of the locals, get in their mix and have fun. Don’t worry about looking awkward and embarrassing yourself. People in India, during such festivities, in particular, are very nice and welcoming; they would love for you to join them.
Recommended Read: 3 Places In India To Visit During This Durga Puja!
Be Ready For the Crowd
Yes, unsurprisingly, you will find a big crowd everywhere this time of the year… In commute, when going out to eat, during pandal hopping. This is more prevalent in cities like Kolkata and Ahmadabad.
So, if you’re not someone who appreciates too many people around and light shoves in long lines, you might experience some hard time here.
Talking about the crowd, of course, personal safety is the biggest priority.
Avoid places that are *really* very crowded. You will find this usually on the Saptami, Ashtami, and Nabami (the 7th, 8th and 9th day) in big and popular pandals.
Avoid looking out-of-place. Do not carry too much cash. Be aware of the kind of place you’re in, as well as its surroundings; check Google map before hitting outdoors. Be aware of the street vendors. Have all the emergency numbers with you all the time. Contact your travel agency often whenever you’re confused or are in problem.
Visiting India during Durga Puja can be one of your life’s most happening experiences ever. But you’ve got to work for it by devising the right plan, finding the good traveling agency, opting for good international tour packages from Kolkata and taking all the safety measures.
In the end though, do not over-think it. Pick up the courage, mix it with that euphoric feeling and start planning today.