Introduction: Durga Puja
Kolkata (previously known as Calcutta) is the cultural capital of India, located in eastern India along the Hoogly river.
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Each year, the city also offers an unrivaled religious and cultural experience of Durga Puja.
“Dugga Dugga” reflects the collective voice of all the females in the household as they make their way to the pandals for puja, wishing for a safe trip ahead in life.
After all, Durga Puja is Devi’s day.
But is it the end of it?
The huge beauty and flair of Durga Puja are not limited to a nine-day celebration. It survives in the hearts of devotees who chant “Maa Dugga” at even the most minor setbacks in life. Long after the puja is over, the thunderous ullu (a high-pitched ululation sound generated by striking both cheeks with the tongue, believed to be exceedingly auspicious and said to ward off any bad luck) may be heard in the city streets.
Devi Durga was born.
According to the myth, Goddess Durga was formed by the three most powerful gods of the Hindu Pantheon: Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver), and Shiva (the destroyer).
The Devi Bhagavatam narrates the story of Durga’s birth.
Born as an Asura, he witnessed the Devas’ victories over Asuras in every battle.
The conflict between the Asuras and the Devas was fierce.
Mashishasura thus vanquished Indra’s army in Amravati.
Maa Durga’s first approach to Amravati
When Durga first approached Amravati, Mahishasura laughed at the prospect of fighting a lady. However, as the conflict progressed, Mahishasura realized he was no match for the great energies represented in the Devi. Throughout the 10 days of warfare, the Asura changed shapes to confound her, but the Devi never missed her target.
Durga promptly decapitated the Asura as soon as he reverted to his original form, a buffalo, thus liberating heaven and earth from the tyrant. As a result, Durga became known as Mahishasura Mardini (The Killer of Mahishasura). This final moment is repeated in many of the Devi idols worshipped during the Durga puja.
Specific information on the Durga Puja
Festival Durga Puja is one of the most highly celebrated festivals in the country, with festivities lasting more than a week. Every day has a new meaning. It is filled with various activities. Among these are:
According to Hindu mythology,
Maha Shashti is the day Goddess Durga arrived on Earth with her four children:
Goddess Saraswati, Goddess Laxmi, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Kartikeya. On the eve of Maha Shashti, the face of the Goddess Durga idol is shown. On this day, rites such as “Edmonton,” “Boston,” and “Adhibash” are conducted. Everywhere, ‘Dhaka’ drums are hit to announce the path of Goddess Durga.
Maha Saptami: The Maha puja is held on the eve of Maha Saptami. A banana tree is engaged in holy water shortly before sunrise and then dressed in a new sari, much like a newlywed woman. This is referred to as ‘Kola Bou or ‘Nabapatrika.’ The banana tree is held with the Goddess Durga statue. Nine plants depict the Goddess Durga’s nine manifestations.
According to tradition,
Maha Ashtami is the day Goddess Durga destroyed Mahishasura, also known as the ‘Buffalo Satan.’ A buffalo was sacrificed in the past to commemorate the occasion. People offer prayers and chant hymns in Sanskrit. The prayers are referred to as’ Anjali.’
Girls under the age of nine are represented as Goddess Durga and worshipped. This is known as “Kumari puja. Following that, the ‘Sandhi puja’ is done.
Maha Navami begins after the ‘Sandhi puja’ concludes. On the eve of Maha Navami, the ‘Maha arati’ is conducted. This is followed by the organization of leisure activities, following which everyone is served the ‘blog.’
On the eve of Maha Dashami, the idol of Goddess Durga is immersed in the holy Ganges water. Before the immersion, worshippers ride in procession on trucks, accompanied by the beating of drums and singing and dancing. Married women throw vermillion on each other during the procession. People visit each other’s homes in the evening to wish ‘Vijoy Dashmi’. Special meals are also made.
Durga Puja 2022
The nine distinct leaves united form “Kola Bou,” which is usually considered the plant form of Durga.
“Maha Ashtami” falls on the eighth day of the puja and is celebrated as the day the Goddess killed “Mahisasura.”
Maha Navami begins as soon as the “Sandhi Puja” concludes.
The 10th day, or “Maha Dashami,” is the final day of Durga Puja.
Durga and the other deities are immersed in the Ganga on this day.
The Puja’s History
Durga Puja (also known as Pujo) is one of the most anticipated holidays in India. It is celebrated in the month of Ashvin (September-October). Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day (Dashami) of the Durga puja, the day Lord Rama conquered Ravana.
The Bondo Bariri Pujo
Belur Math is one of Kolkata’s most well-known institutions. Swami Vivekananda performed the first Durga puja here in 1901. Durga Puja at Belur Math today draws thousands of visitors each year. Ramakrishna Math and Mission is located on the Hoogly River’s western bank.
How Durga Puja is celebrated?
- During the puja, schools, colleges, and government offices are closed. Just after Mahalaya, they go shopping for puja. Most stores provide discounts on clothing and other items during this time of year.
- The beauty of Durga Puja is that each pandal, via its art and decor, tells a tale. Food vendors are set up in every nook and cranny, while restaurants create special Durga Puja meals. To create a festive atmosphere, the streets are decked with various lights.
- Durga Puja is the Bengali community’s most important celebration. Aside from the festivities, the festival calls for a family gathering. It is a moment when people put aside their differences and unite to celebrate unity.
- Durga Puja, to be specific, transcends religious barriers and honors the spirit of humanity.