Kolkata’s Durga Puja Became UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Site


Photos: Kolkata Durga Puja

When it is all about Kolkata Durga Puja, we Bengalis feel like we are in heaven. We eagerly wait for Durga Puja every year and this year, 2023 has bought something very special to us. People of Kolkata started to celebrate Durga Puja just one month early; from 1st September 2023 as our Durga Puja got tagged as “UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. We Kolkatans celebrated the event via a carnival to show thankfulness towards UNESCO for conferring Durga Puja as an Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Kolkata’s Durga Puja has made its permanent mark on World’s map with the prestigious tag given by UNESCOUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

According to UNESCO…..

 “Durga Puja is seen as the best instance of the public performance of religion and art, and as thriving ground for collaborative artists and designers. During the event, the divides of class, religion, and ethnicities collapse as crowds of spectators walk around to admire the installations.” 

Inauguration of Heralding Durga Puja as UNESCO’s ICH

Thus it is time to say, Our Durga Puja is Our Pride and Our Glorification – precisely by Bengalis. Though it is a pride of our nation, India too. In the 16th Committee of UNESCO, in Paris, on 15th December 2021, Durga Puja, the biggest festival of Bengalis joined the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This is the first ever Asian festival to receive such prestigious recognition.

Great Minds & Efforts behind the Achievement

Amid the happiness and excitement, most of the time we forget the mind that bought Durga Puja under the magnifying glass of UNESCO’s representative list of ICH. The name is Tapati Guja Thakurta. She is an eminent Historian. She and her team worked endlessly to prepare a dossier and the dossier was sent to UNESCO in March 2019 by the Union Cultural Ministry of India.

Apart from T.G. Thakurta, CSSS research scholars Sandipan Mitra, Devi Chakrabarti, and film-maker Nilanjan Bhattacharya were the brains who worked on the dossier and simplified the queries raised by UNESCO on Durga Puja.

Impact of the Prestigious Tag on the Economy of Kolkata, West Bengal

There is no doubt that Durga Puja is a great source of livelihood for a large group of artisans as well as people belonging to diverse domains. It is expected that with the inscription as UNESCO Intangible Heritage, Durga Puja in Kolkata, Bengal would experience a crowd of foreign tourists larger than before. It is also estimated that the creative economy that evolved around the Durga Puja festival will get a giant lift in the coming years.

According to Prato Ghosh, Durgotsab Forum founder, Durga Puja in Kolkata entices foreign investors to invest in this festival and helps the economy to boost.

On a Closing Note,

We, the team of Curious Kasturi are gladdened to show our gratefulness and happiness on this pleasant moment via this piece blog. We would come up with new stories and feed your quest as we have been doing.

Please feel free to make us know your precious thoughts via the comment section.

Wish you all a Very Happy Durga Puja!

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