Durga Puja is also called Durgotsav. It is a Hindu festival that adores Goddess Durga. This famous festival is celebrated mostly in West Bengal and particularly in Kolkata.
Durga puja is a festival that marks the battle of Goddess Durga with the demon Mahishasura. Goddess Durga got victorious thus marking the victory of good over evil.
Durga Puja is also a harvest festival that signifies Maa Durga’s, motherly love. There’s the practice of including a bundle of nine different plants called ‘Navpattrika’. This symbolizes Durga as a form of nature & her importance to agriculture.
Along with Durga, prime deities such as Ganesha, Saraswati, Lakshmi & Kartikeya are also worshipped during this festival.
Importance of Durga Puja 10 days celebration.
The festival begins with Mahalaya, a day where Shakta Hindus remember the loved ones who have died, as well as the advent of Durga. This is typically also the day when the eyes of all deities on the Durga Puja stage are painted, bringing them to a life-like appearance.
The festival opens at twilight with prayers to Sarasvati & Ganesha. People also visit several Durga temples.
Second – Fifth Day
The aspects of Goddess Durga:- Kumari (Goddess of Fertility)
Lakshmi(Goddess of wealth)
Navadurga(nine aspects of Durga)
are remembered & worshipped.
Sixth day (Shashti)
This is the beginning of major festivities & social celebrations Goddess Durga is welcomed & celebrations begin in temples and pandals. This is called Bodhana.
The puja rituals are long and complicated. Three days of Mantras, Shlokas chants and Arati. Also, offerings are made, which include Vedic chants and multiple recitations of the Devi Mahatmya text in Sanskrit.
The seventh day (Saptami)
On this day following rituals are performed:-
Bathing of Goddess
Selection of Priest
Recitation of texts describing Durga heading to war
Screams like crying at high points by women
Eighth Day (Mahasthami)
The celebrations are almost similar to the seventh day.
It is a significant day because the moment when the eighth-day ends and the ninth day begins is considered the moment when Durga kills the demon, Mahishasura.
Sandhi Puja It is forty – an eight-minute high point ritual that celebrates the climax of the war. The ritual is performed during the last 24-min of Mahashtami & first 24-min of Mahanavami.
It is similar to the seventh day the only difference is it is a celebration after the victory of Goddess Durga
Tenth-day(Vijaya – Dashami)
The festival ends on this day. It begins with Sindoor Khela where married women smear Sindoor on Durga’s forehead & feet, then on each other. A procession is initiated by Shakta Hindu communities with drum beats of music & mantra chants. A colorful clay statue is carried & then immersed in a river or sea.
Durga is thus believed to return to Mount Kailash with Shiva.
Celebrations at several places
Durga Puja is the biggest festival of Bengalis & one of the major social events in India. It is particularly popular in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam, Odisha, Assam & Tripura. There’s an official holiday of five days in these states.
It is also a very important festival in Nepal & Bangladesh. The festival is also celebrated by Bengali communities in Europe & U.S.A. It is truly a delight for the eyes to watch magnificent Pandals of Durga Puja and amazingly carved goddess idols. For the complete 10 days of celebration, a spurt of fanfare is easily sensed and too especially on the last 5 days of the festival.
Bengalis consider Durga Puja as a wonderful festival celebration to reconnect with family and friends.
Durga Puja celebrations in Kolkata
Preparations for Durga Puja Fest
Durga Puja festival preparations commence one or two months prior to the celebration dates. In Kolkata, Puja Bonus is offered to employees. Shops get a huge amount of sales during the festival. The festival is in fact welcomed with great enthusiasm by every household.
The Making of Durga Idol
Now Durga Puja has turned into a community festival that is celebrated at Puja pandals. In Kumartuli which is a place near Kolkata, amazing idols of goddess Durga are given shape. It is a famous place for the production of beautiful idols of gods and goddesses. Here the expert artisans show their talent in making idols.
Magnificent Decorations of Durga Puja Pandal
Innovative ideas of making Pandal setups and goddess idols are done with great devotion and a lot of money is erected on Puja Pandals which are all decked with mesmerizing artwork. In fact, many pandals are also built in the shape of world-famous monuments or structures.
Moreover, there are many cultural activities held such as dance and song competitions. Games are also organized during the last few days of the festival celebration. Many professional artists like singers, dancers, and musicians are also called for singing bhajan and stuti of Goddess Durga. Apart from pandal decorations, the city is also illuminated and decorated with displays of colorful and sparkling lights
Reasons why you must attend Durga Puja at Kolkata.
- There’s nothing enough to compare to the Five-day festival at Kolkata.
- It is a grand celebration where everyone is ready to welcome Durga.
- Kolkata turns into a virtual walk-through gallery with fantastically decorated pandals
- The people are so enthusiastic that the festival is compared to the famous Carnival of Rio-de-Janerio.
- There’s a huge surprise of auspicious paintings like Rangoli of about 1 km along Lake Road by almost 400 art students.
- The pandals are so beautifully decorated by artisans. They have turned every possible imagination into reality.
- A variety of food such as rolls, momos, puchkas, bhel & a lot more is available on the streets of Kolkata.
- Colorful lights & elaborate lightning turn Kolkata into a fairy town at night during Durga Puja