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Durga Puja

Posted on May 23, 2011 | FestivalsNo Comment

Durga Puja or Durgotsav is a festival in the Southern Part of Asia celebrated by the Hindus. It is held in celebration of the Goddess Durga. It is observed for 10 days.

It is mainly celebrated in West Bengal, Jharkand, Assam and Orissa. It is the biggest festival celebrated amongst the Hindus. This festival also includes the worship of Lord Shiva who is considered to be Lord Dura’s husband. A banana tree is also worshipped during this festival. Besides Goddess Durga, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Ganesha and Lord Karthik are worshipped during this festival. There are huge mandaps and pandals inside which the idols are kept after due to worship and pomp.

History has it that Goddess Durga started being worshipped in the freedom movement in Bengal. It started with a small celebration being held to celebrate the victory at the Battle of Plassey when Lord Clive wanted to thank the people. As there was no church around, the local zamindar families had a puja in honour of this thanksgiving ceremony. This is how celebrations started.

The Durga Puja starts with the Mahishashuramardini a radio programmed that is very popular with the Bengali community. Broadcast early morning, on the radio this is a two hour rendition of the works of Goddess Durga. It is aired by the All India Radio.

Elaborate structures are set up ion the roads and the idols are made with the Goddess showing having ten weapons in her hands. There is the regular flower offering and the beating of dhols with the drummers playing the dhakis, carrying them on their shoulders. This is supposed to celebrate the homecoming of the Goddess. On the tenth day, it is believed that the Goddess returns to her husband Shiva. This is called the Bishorjon or the Immersion Day.

Regarded as the largest outdoor festival on earth, it shows a lot of architectural excellence and stupendous creativity. The air around the Durga Puja celebrations is full of pomp, gaiety and enthusiasm. This is the time that people from not only the Bengali community but from all over that congregate together and participate in the celebrations. The idols depict Durga with her four children but from the 1980’s the idols are shown individually.

After six days on the day of Bishorjon the idol is immersed in the ocean or sea amid chants of Bolo Durga Mai Ki Jai meaning Glory be to Goddess Durga. With drumbeats and the chants rendering the air electric, the next day is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami, when families visit each other and give sweetmeats to each other.

It is believed that Durga Puja is celebrated to commemorate the homecoming of the Goddess to her parents house and it is believed that they send here back with lot of gifts and pomp back to her parent’s house. It signifies a victory of the good over evil.

Thus with the Durga Puja forming a major role in the Festivals, it sure is in the reckoning for a major tourist destination. One should surely visit Bengal during Durga Puja festival.

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