Kolkata app promises to make it easier for pandal-hopping visitors
Kolkata is making a ‘smart’ move as its peak tourism season opens with the Durga Puja on September 26, to be followed by the Fifa Under-17 World Cup finale in October.
West Bengal’s Tourism Department is sprucing up the city’s brand image at airports and railway stations, and has launched a mobile app to help tourists do some serious pandal-hopping during the festive season. Information about high-profile Durga Pujas in the city and how to get there are included in the app.
About two dozen major Pujas go thematic each year in Kolkata, modelled after such things as Buddhist temples and terracotta icons, and in the past, paid tribute to Satyajit Ray and the Ambassador car. This time, the idol in one display features ornaments seen in the film Baahubali. Visitors can get information not just on such displays, but real time traffic updates. The Sharodotsav (Durga Puja) app launched last week also has interactivity built-in to engage the fan.
“We launched the mobile application keeping in mind the convenience of the large number of tourists during Durga puja, and also Kolkata’s people. It has transport and police links,” the State Tourism Minister, Gautam Deb, said.
Those who want to enjoy the festivities without wading into crowded streets can opt to just view trending photos of the famous Pujas on their phones.
Expert smartphone photographers can send their two best puja shots to the Tourism Department for a competition. “Users can send photographs to us using the ‘share pujo’ option. After the puja, the three best photos will be awarded,” said Manish Jain, secretary, Tourism Department.
The photo contest will open along with the puja on September 26 and entries can be sent till September 29.
As India’s football capital, Kolkata is also gripped by Fifa Under-17 World Cup fever. The Tourism Department hopes to attract large footfalls including foreign tourists when the matches are played.
The city’s brand is to get a boost through increased advertising at Kolkata and Bagdogra airports and at Railway stations such as Sealdah, Howrah, and New Jalpaiguri.