Durga Puja – the 10-day, post-monsoon festival devoted to the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga – is followed fervently in Kolkata. It revolves around hundreds of lavishly decorated shrines known as ‘pandals’, which hold clay and bamboo effigies of the multi-limbed goddess draped in brocaded silk. Wearing their best new clothes, local people wander from shrine to shrine during the festival, comparing the displays of fairy lights and decorations – a tradition known as ‘pandal hopping’. On the final day of the festival, the deities are immersed in the river – an extraordinary sight.

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